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InvisiblePsiloKitten
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Registered: 02/13/99
Posts: 1,617
Occupation Authority Takes Initial Steps to Sell Iraq...
    #2018194 - 10/17/03 04:51 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Article

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The U.S.-led occupation authority is taking initial steps toward selling off the first of Iraq's scores of state-owned companies to investors, but will stick to small enterprises until a sovereign Iraqi government takes over the job, the American privatization chief said Friday.
Thomas Foley said the privatizing of Iraq's government-dominated economy will begin with service companies, such as a taxi-limousine service and an architectural design firm.

"We selected a small group, fewer than 10 SOEs (state-owned enterprises) that are very small and very simple, low-asset businesses to begin initial privatization steps," said Foley, in charge of private-sector development under the Coalition Provisional Authority.

The U.S. plan for Iraqi privatization is controversial. Some critics interpret Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, protecting civilians in wartime, as outlawing major alterations in an occupied country's economic system, through its prohibition of annexation of occupied territory.

Foley told reporters no sales would involve land.

"As for selling SOEs, we believe that would be permitted prior to there being a sovereign government," he said.

The U.S. administration foresees a likely transition to a sovereign Iraqi government by late 2004 after the drafting of a constitution and national elections.

During 35 years of Baath Party rule here, ended by a U.S.-British invasion force in April, some of Iraq's largest enterprises were nationalized and other major state companies were established. Before the war, some 200 state-owned enterprises employed a half-million Iraqi workers, Foley said.

The CPA in mid-September completed an assessment of 153 of the 200 companies - excluding military industries, companies under the Oil Ministry and electric commission, and state banks and insurance companies.

"The assessments were targeted toward determining which of those made sense for privatization and how and when such privatization might be appropriate," said Foley, who heads a New York investment firm, NTC Group.

Asked for examples of the most valuable enterprises, he cited cement, fertilizer, sulfur-mining, textile and automotive tire companies, among others.

An overall plan for privatization will be submitted to Iraq's interim Governing Council in the next several weeks, centered on establishment of a privatization agency, Foley said. The majority of privatizations will be carried out by a sovereign government, he said.

"My guess is that this process will take three to five years," Foley said.

Some Iraqis have expressed concern that their most promising companies will be bought up by foreign investors. The first, small privatizations are unlikely to attract foreign interest, Foley said.

He did not say when those smaller companies are likely to be put up for sale, but did say that date is "not close." He described those sales as a kind of test "to understand what sorts of obstacles we may run into."



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InvisiblePsiloKitten
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Re: Occupation Authority Takes Initial Steps to Sell Iraq... [Re: PsiloKitten]
    #2019336 - 10/18/03 12:43 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)



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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Occupation Authority Takes Initial Steps to Sell Iraq... [Re: PsiloKitten]
    #2019385 - 10/18/03 01:05 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

They should give it back to the people that own it. State owned = owned by the people.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Occupation Authority Takes Initial Steps to Sell Iraq... [Re: PsiloKitten]
    #2019448 - 10/18/03 01:28 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

It would be interesting to see who ends up buying these few small companies, but my guess is there will never be a followup article on them.

The guy quoted in the article says it is unlikely the companies would attract interest from anyone other than Iraqis, but it would still be nice to know who eventually ends up buying them.

pinky


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InvisiblePsiloKitten
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Re: Occupation Authority Takes Initial Steps to Sell Iraq... [Re: Phred]
    #2019470 - 10/18/03 01:36 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Wanna make a bet on that first comment?


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Occupation Authority Takes Initial Steps to Sell Iraq... [Re: PsiloKitten]
    #2019495 - 10/18/03 01:45 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

If even one of those nine or fewer companies is bought by anyone other than Iraqis when they do eventually get around to selling them, then yeah -- I could see there being a followup by AP.

But if all of them end up being bought by Iraqis, then the odds of there being a followup are slim to none.

pinky


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Occupation Authority Takes Initial Steps to Sell Iraq... [Re: Phred]
    #2019918 - 10/18/03 06:16 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

When it is "bought" who is it bought from and where does the money go?


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OfflineGernBlanston
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Re: Occupation Authority Takes Initial Steps to Sell Iraq... [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2020256 - 10/18/03 12:10 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

When it it "bought", the money from the purchasing company goes to the goverment. As it has worked in the past (the selling of the UKs power and water facilities to - primarily American - companies, or more to the point, the wholescale sale of Argentina's power and water utilities to companies, almost all of whom were susbidiaries of Enron), the money is paid to the "state". However, as in Argentina, for example, the money was only transferred once certain conditions had been met. These conditions are often laid down by the World Bank / IMF as "terms for economic growth" in order to "protect the investment of foreign interests", and often involve things like, oh... firing 80% of the workforce, and increasing the charge for water to citizens by 2000%. Things like that.

In the end, the money is often then used to pay off a loan (or the interest on a loan) that the state already owns, or has been promised by the IMF as a condition of selling off the SOEs in the first place, resulting in the nation actually seeing zero dollars, AND losing their SOE's, AND forcing it's citizens to either pay 20x more for their utilities (leading to a rebellion in Argentina.. that's right - you could say that Enron and the IMF (remember, the IMF is owned in majority by the US Treasury dept.) actually caused a rebellion in a foreign soverign nation), AND all the while making these foreign investors money hand over fucking fist, NONE of which will ever trickle down into the economies of the newly privatized countries, or the US, where the new utility owners are based.

Point being? There is ample evidence to show that the selling off piecemeal of Iraq's SOEs is both nothing new, and will do nothing positive for the Iraqi people or their fledgeling economy. If anyone believes that this is not simply viewed as another opportunity for the rich to get richer at the expense of whoever-the-fuck-gets-in-the-way, then you're just plain goofy.


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There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.
  --  Howard Zinn


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Occupation Authority Takes Initial Steps to Sell Iraq... [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2020257 - 10/18/03 12:12 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

I would presume those ones would be bought from the Iraqi governing council. later ones would be bought from the Iraqi parliament.

The money would go to the Iraqi treasury, just as tax revenues would.

pinky


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: Occupation Authority Takes Initial Steps to Sell Iraq... [Re: Phred]
    #2020575 - 10/18/03 03:25 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

So who owns all the oil in the ground?


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OfflineSquattingMarmot
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Re: Occupation Authority Takes Initial Steps to Sell Iraq... [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #2021094 - 10/18/03 07:46 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

You would think that the Iraqi people should.


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"In the United States anybody can be president. Thats the problem."

"The gray-haired douche bag, Barbara Bush, has a slogan: "Encourage your child to read every day." What she should be is encouraging children to question what they read every day."

- George Carlin


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InvisibleXlea321
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Re: Occupation Authority Takes Initial Steps to Sell Iraq... [Re: GernBlanston]
    #2022473 - 10/19/03 12:29 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Sounds about right Gern. The puppets installed by the US will piss away any wealth the Iraqi's have to foreign corporations and leave the Iraqi people to pay "debt" for the next 100 years.


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