Should the International Community Relieve Iraq's Debts?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
May 30, 2008

While attending this week’s International Compact with Iraq conference in Sweden, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called upon the international community to provide debt relief to Iraq, cut its war reparations from the Saddam Hussein regime, and increase assistance to the country.

Should the international community relieve Iraq's debts?

Comments

Comments

Zharkov
|
United States
June 1, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

I think assistance to Iraq's government is something which federal employees could take up a collection of their salary checks to send some money to al-Maliki. They might as well take donations for the Saudi Royal Family, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE and even Ahmadinejad, so we treat all of Islam equally, as good liberals should. Certainly we should include OPEC as well. Let's just give them the White House and be done with it.

John
|
Greece
June 1, 2008

John in Greece writes:

All the western developed countries must help the reconstruction and socio-economic improvement of Iraq by all means. Until now, 99% of the efforts in the area are made and paid only by the U.S.A.: internal security actions , funds, educational programs etc.

If we -- the western community -- truly believe, support and understand the importance of creating a new, civilized and modern Iraq, then ALL THE COUNTRIES (not only America) must also pay their "share" for this vision.
After all, a healthy Iraq -- Afghanistan as well -- is the first step towards our antiterrorism scope and it can certainly become an example for other Muslim countries to follow.

Syrian P.
|
Syria
June 3, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- Zharkov said,

"...Let's just give them the White House and be done with it....."

They got the White House long time ago, in 1973. You can not give them much more, they already the majority shareholders. What we all need to do, is to take some if not all back, including the oil fields, and give them one way ticket to Sandyland where they can ride Sandyland famed attraction the Unicorned Camel Hero all life long.

Zharkov
|
United States
June 3, 2008

Zharkov in the U.S.A. writes:

Debt relief is only part of the problem. The major problems in Iraq are its government, and ours.

If debt relief is granted, it should be done formally with a treaty in which debt relief shall forever constitute reparations for all war damage done by the United States.

Otherwise, someday, a future US president will be apologizing and offering more trillions of dollars to compensate survivors in Iraq for their losses, and for damage to their country.

What matters today are our plans for Iraq, or lack thereof, because if there were any plans, the Bush Administration is certainly not sharing the information.

Secretary of State Colin Powell once said about Iraq, "If you break it, you've bought it", a basic rule of the pottery shop, which our government has followed to the point of bankruptcy.

Those countries who sent armed forces to Iraq might have some moral or legal obligation to contribute to repairing the damage they did if the Iraq war was illegal, but why should dissenting governments pay for something they never wanted to happen? And if the war was not illegal, why should the US spend itself into bankruptcy to rebuild the entire country?

Many countries warned the Bush Administration that invading Iraq was a stupid idea, and the warning proved accurate, particularly for oil prices and Iraq's infrastructure, and our own soldiers. Today we measure Iraq's progress by the number of American soldiers killed every week.

The soldiers who died were the people who would have started new businesses, created new technology, and rescued our rapidly-declining industrial base. They were our future leaders, the most courageous of them, the ones who would have been America's future generation and who would have kept us out of future wars. America is now much poorer for having won the war against Saddam Hussein, and the question Americans ask is, was he worth it?

The US dollar is already viewed by many europeans as less useful than toilet paper. Just as self-immolation by Vietnamese monks did not stop the Vietnam War, burning our dollar and our economy won't help Iraq. Only Iraqi people can help Iraq, if they are left alone long enough to begin rebuilding.

How many more trillions of dollars will our government have to print and spend to convince the world that Iraq is a success? How many more soldiers will die before we declare "mission accomplished"? Does this government have any intention to ever leave Iraq?

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
June 3, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- Zharkov wrote:

"Let's just give them the White House and be done with it."

I thought we already did that. Divided it between Corporate interest, China, Russia and the Saudis.....

As stated by the Department of State, its purpose includes:

1. Protecting and assisting U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad;

2. Assisting U.S. businesses in the international marketplace;

3. Coordinating and providing support for international activities of other U.S. agencies (local, state, or federal government), official visits overseas and at home, and other diplomatic efforts.

4. Keeping the public informed about U.S. foreign policy and relations with other countries and providing feedback from the public to administration officials.

5. Providing automobile registration for non-diplomatic staff vehicles and the vehicles of diplomats of foreign countries having diplomatic immunity in the United States.

Thats what is stated,but how does it end up:

1. It seems that Private contractors as Blackwater, Ross Periots teams, Counter Group and Lidys teams have a far greater success rate.

2. That sure is self evident -- but how does that help the Average American. While I understand this is a dichotomy many times, it should be the exception, not the rule to COME AT THE EXPENSE OF AMERICAN CITIZENS. We do have a Country as a base.

3. I experienced the multi-Agency problems in South America long ago and they have come far there; but the damage done is restuitued how?

4. What public are they listening to. The DOS has become a platform for the Executive Office, not the people in reality. Good personal lose their positions on administration changes or different views of the Office of the President.

5. I also experienced the Personal choice of the DOS in blue sheeting personal.

Since the DOS is so closely related now to Homeland Security, why is the plight of the American Citizens ignored as not being in line with our International goals? Greenspan said it decades ago to GH Bush: Its about the economy S%. Greenspan was a Democrat and at the time I met him and an Ann Rand Objectivism beleiver. Reguardles, GH knew he was right and kept him on.

What kind of example do we set when we cannot feed, house or medically provide for our own while Communist societies are moving forward? What about the 100 major American Banks holding over 100 million in bad Bonds shows our International views, business methods or good values of our Democratic Society?

In relation to Iraq: why are we the ONLY NATION on earth to conquer a country and not keep any spoils? Instead we give? They have natural resources, they have skilled labor, they have Leaders who have made millions bilking the U.S., and they need to pay us back...with interest or some oil in trade agreement for debut relief.

How is being even more provisional proper in this case? Russia, who did little but protect their Pipeline and Railroad in Iraq and Afghanistan, walked away with 40 percent of all offshore drilling rights ...while Americans are dying and cannot even afford to drive to work.

Is our example to be fools to the world? We need to bring economic recovery to our people first, not secondary...set a real example first.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 3, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I'm fine with giving a brand new nation a fresh start, because I believe the international community owes the Iraqi people a debt it cannot repay for having not removed Saddam from power in 91, and all that entailed.

We all would be a decade or so down the road now from where we are now in Iraq and the Mideast would have had the prospects for peace it still lacks because the ethical infants standing in the way would not be by now. ( left standing that is ).

So now today, it is my hope that folks will take this 20/20 hindsight into account, and do the right thing by the Iraqi people and not hold them responsible for paying the debts and war crimes of the one who destroyed their nation in the first place.

Those nations that invested in Saddam's Iraq didn't do a proper risk assesment, and now they have bad debt to write off. Well, that's par for the course when supporting dictators. Lesson learned, hopefully.

John
|
Greece
June 3, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- Don't expect from the "non-givers": (?Saudi Royal Family, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE and even Ahmadinejad, OPEC?) etc.

All these guys and countries and "companies" would love to see Iraq failing to reach the new civilized FREE era.

Here, we have to deal with a situation that the only way is to "do it yourself".

That's why all the West ...we- must remain united and say "All present".

Note: Feds are doing a fine job!

It's not their duty to offer their salaries.

We need them much more as decision makers and not as donators.

selena
|
United Kingdom
June 3, 2008

Selena in U.K. writes:

Well, If we analyse the debt on Iraq then Iraq's external debt following the end of the Saddam regime was approximately $125 billion. The U.S. government has repeatedly accused Iran of arming militants for attacks on Americans in Iraq. Now the international community should do something to help Iraq and give them an apportunity to become a accomplished state.

Regards.

Ronald
|
New York, USA
June 3, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

Debt Relief?

Plenty to relieve in the Good Old USA...

After squandering untold billions; literally dropping off flats of neatly-bound bricks of 100 dollar bills; the USG has the nerve to suggest the intenational community take over?....Give us a all break!....

Remember Oil-for-Food....and let the feeling pass.

Zharkov
|
United States
June 3, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

How can we consider relieving Iraq's debts when we are not told what has happened to its assets?

Regarding the Iraqi oil pipeline with at least 3 U.S. military bases guarding it -- I wonder, where the money is going from the oil shipped out of Iraq?

Just who is auditing the guy in charge of Iraq's oil revenue? What is Iraq's government doing with the money?

In fact, who is auditing U.S. war expenditures and why can't they locate the many billions of dollars in missing Pentagon money earmarked for Iraq?

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
June 4, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- Zharkov wrote:

"Is our example to be fools to the world? We need to bring economic recovery to our people first, not secondary...set a real example first."

Z: here is an article to answer some of your questions:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/03/08/iraq.main/index.html

A GOOD BACKGROUND can be found at Global Policy: http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2002/12heart.htm

The Black-market covered a bit in: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1622785,00.html

It is not hard to research the basic information and there is a lot out there. The bottom line is Politics, corruption and poor leadership on all fronts, including our own at the point of extraction to sale. In business, follow up is everything; in politics that concept is lost 100% apparently. The separation of responsibilities to create plausible deniability of each office involved is what provides the methodology for corruption to be successful on all fronts in Iraq.

We are working to free the people, rebuild their country and protect their major natural resource and what do we get in return? Made fools of and that is mostly American blood being shed there. Has no one any conscious?

I think the American People are fed up.... A 75 year old mans wife said in a store just yesterday in discussion: QUOTE: My husband said: We should just make all of them a sheet of glass. Having heard this on the street in different manners, it seems to me that the Department of State is at odds with the citizens of the country it represents....so how can policy be so far from our peoples desires? Makes one wonder does it not?

I am not denying the plausibility and facets of National Security on a wider scale there; but, all the problems will lead to it being secondary. The American people need to see something in return for all their efforts today, not a decade from now. They have the resources to take themselves out of debut. We said by 2003 they could..What happened to that figure??

Chul-hong
|
South Korea
June 4, 2008

Chul-hong in South Korea writes:

It is clear that the engaged nations in Iraq Conflict such as U.S., British, Japan, South Korea have the rights to reconstruct devastated Iraq.

If a lot of nations, which have not engaged in Iraq Conflict, relieve Iraq's debts respectively, then they may maintain unreasonably that they have their own share in reconstructing Iraq. In that case, the pie of reconstruction will be smaller.

Therefore, the attempt to relieve Iraq's debts should be handled indirectly by a hand of International Monetary Fund (IMF) or International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
June 4, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

1. Using the IMF will NOT change anything. South America has created its own bank system to avoid using the corrupt IMF. Good God man, one of the people involved in one of Americas best Marines and CIA operatives more than questionable cases, Ed Wilson, ended up with the IMF. I wonder why? These are the type of people involved in one of the most covert monetary systems on the planet. Even Russia was smart enough to work around them. People forget Putin was an Economics major.

2. IT IS POLITICS period and a repeat of the 80s. HERE: The CCC loaned about $5 billion to cover Iraq's purchases from 1983 to 1990, in a curve whose trajectory broadly matches the US government's support for the Hussein regime... Agriculture Department investigators in the late 1980s discovered that the unusually high profits obtained through CCC-backed sales were being used to fund "after-sales" services to Iraq (such as the provision of armored vehicles, communications equipment, and other goods with military uses) and kickbacks to Iraqi officials. The CCC program in Iraq was conducted despite objections from US Treasury and Federal Reserve officials, who consistently called throughout 1987-1990 for eliminating or scaling down the program, based on Iraq's likely inability to repay the loans. However, the State Department repeatedly intervened to push the credits through on the basis of an appeal to US interests." From the Iraqi news archive. The result was: The judge who oversaw the case, Marvin Shoob, said: I've read all the secret documents, and I can't believe [Drogoul] was the sole actor or principal actor in the enterprise.: The sentences of Drogoul and the others were reduced in light of - US and Italian policy - in favor of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, which the judge felt lessened their responsibility."

This is just a repeat in reverse. We never got our money from then...No nation that Freed these people owe them anything and they OWE US period.

The only thing in the entire series of facts wrong was about GH Bush knowing of the arms shipments to Sudam. It was an internal conflict when he did find out about it; but, too late by then. His moral turpitude was beyond most in DC; which, actually offended many throughout his carrier. Whats that tell you?

3. The American People are fed up...and doing without for what reason? Why not forgive the debut of all Americans put out of work by Globalization and Free Trade? Since this is the reason many more have more?... So, if the American Government that represents ITS PEOPLE wants to forgive any debuts, why not its own Citizens who GIVE them their capacities to represent and whom tax money they spend?

4. They have the more than the ability to pay their debuts to us. We have forgiven how much thus far?

Zharkov
|
United States
June 5, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The Iraq situation is complete chaos if this news story is true. It would be nice if our U.S. agencies would investigate before they invest:

"The US military has awarded an $80 million contract to a prominent Saudi financier who has been indicted by the US Justice Department. The contract to supply jet fuel to American bases in Afghanistan was awarded to the Attock Refinery Ltd, a Pakistani-based refinery owned by Gaith Pharaon. Pharaon is wanted in connection with his alleged role at the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), and the CenTrust savings and loan scandal, which cost US tax payers $1.7 billion.

The Saudi businessman was also named in a 2002 French parliamentary report as having links to informal money transfer networks called hawala, known to be used by traders and terrorists, including Al Qaeda.

Interestingly, Pharaon was also an investor in President George W. Bush's first business venture, Arbusto Energy.

A spokesman for the FBI said Pharaon was not wanted in connection with the French report, but confirmed he was still sought by the US Justice Department.

Ghaith Pharaon is an FBI fugitive indicted in both the BCCI and CENTRUST case," said Richard Kolko, a spokesman for the FBI. "If anyone has information on his location, they are requested to contact the FBI or the US Embassy."
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4996285&page=1

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 5, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Joe in Tennessee -- Joe, the paramaters on the ground are fundementally different today. Even a blind man in Iraq would tell you that. Any young government will of necessity have to deal with those who seek personal gain through corrupt public service, and is no reason to keep nations from offering a fresh start.

I think it is up to the individual nations Iraq owes debt to, as to how they restructure or relieve that debt on a bilateral basis in consultation with the Iraqi government.

Global financial institutions like the IMF, world bank can play a role, but it is a new government's ability to use credit not tied by the former regime's debt that is important to the new Iraqi government's financial stability, self investment for infrastructure, and other basics of government services that are needed to promote social stability.

So in a very real sense, relieving Iraqi debt is an investment in a stable Iraq, at peace.

Zharkov
|
United States
June 5, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

According to the news article below, the "Iraq Government" is soon to become irrelevant and illigitmate. Under the circumstances, one might argue that there is no legitimate Iraqi government to receive debt relief:

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under U.S. control

Source: The Independent

Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the U.S. presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the U.S. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw U.S. troops if he is elected president in November.

The timing of the agreement would also boost the Republican candidate, John McCain, who has claimed the United States is on the verge of victory in Iraq -- a victory that he says Mr Obama would throw away by a premature military withdrawal.

Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for U.S. troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.

The precise nature of the American demands has been kept secret until now. The leaks are certain to generate an angry backlash in Iraq. "It is a terrible breach of our sovereignty," said one Iraqi politician, adding that if the security deal was signed it would delegitimise the government in Baghdad which will be seen as an American pawn.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 6, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- Zharkov,

I've often found that going to the source cuts out third party (press) interpretations of policy or treaty.

Here's the reality check:

Briefing on Recent Developments In Iraq
Amb. Ryan C. Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq
Washington, DC
June 5, 2008

http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/rm/105638.htm

(excerpt)
QUESTION: The London Independent reports today that there's a sort of a secret plan in the works in terms of this agreement and that you want to have 50 permanent military bases, control of Iraqi air space, and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors. Is this what you're looking for?

AMBASSADOR CROCKER: Well, as a matter of fact, it is not. (Laughter.) There are just a couple of things that aren't quite right about that story. First, there aren't going to be any secret provisions, attachments, protocols or whatever. This will be a transparent process. The Iraqi system requires that the agreement go before their council of representatives. It will have a full debate. It will all be out there in the open. Again, it's a negotiation in progress, so I can't tell you what it's going to look like at the end, but I can tell you that we are not seeking permanent military bases in Iraq. That is just flatly untrue. Nor are we seeking to control Iraqi airspace. That is another kind of enduring myth. Iraq is working hard at developing its air traffic control capacities, and as it does, we're handing over increasing responsibility to them.

With respect to the other issues, again, we've got something like 80 Status of Forces Agreements around the world. They deal with issues like jurisdiction. We expect to approach the jurisdiction issue here, just as we have in those other cases.

QUESTION: What about the issue of immunity, though, for contractors? I mean, this has been a big issue, especially with Blackwater and other issues that have emerged?

AMBASSADOR CROCKER: Again, this will all be part of the negotiations and that's in train and, you know, I can't really give you a sitrep as we go through it.

QUESTION: But is that what you'd like, though, immunity for contractors?

AMBASSADOR CROCKER: Well, again, the question of jurisdiction and immunity is part of any negotiation like this in 78 other countries and in Iraq.

(end)

Sometimes I think the press is board and just makes up stuff to print on a slow news day.

Zharkov
|
United States
June 6, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The two points the Ambassador contradicted were:

1. The military bases won't be permanent.

"Not permanent" could mean anything from 1 day to 100 years. The U.S. never announced to our citizens that it intended to have "permanent" military bases in Germany either but after 50 years, it seems they are until the Germans say otherwise. Perhaps he meant the military bases will remain until the Iraqi government wants them to go? If so, that would make them "permanent" if experience with prior occupations is any indication.

Moreover, why are we building the world's largest embassy in Baghdad if there will be no military bases to protect it from almost certain attack?

There is no suggestion from the Ambassador of how long the bases will exist, and there is no plan from the White House to leave Iraq any time soon, so for whom is he speaking? The Ambassador could not possibly be speaking for the White House.

2. The agreement isn't secret.

Not secret to Iraq's political leaders, obviously, but what about America's citizens? When was the US government planning to disclose the negotiations -- after it was too late for public outcry to block the agreement?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 9, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- Zharkov, have you ever heard of C-span?

When Amb. Crocker said the process was transparent, he just figured everyone in the US knows that one can view the treaty hearings just held in the House Foreign Relations Committee on C-span's video.

Fact is Zharkov, the American public has no problem informing themselves if they wish.

And hey, don't tell me you don't know already that it is impossible to keep a secret in this country in general anyway. Which is why the government takes it upon itself to inform the public in the first place.

So accusations like your's are laughed at...no offense....but if one wishes to ask a silly question, it will generally arouse amusement.

I think folks tend to forget that bilateral relations in general among countries evolve. The goal of creating an Iraq of, by, and for the people of Iraq is also in evolution.

It is not a static process, thus any treaty or agreement evolves to the mutual satisfaction of both parties or it does not exist at all.

Which is why our elected representitives are running it through the normal examinations on the path to Congressional aproval or not, as voted upon.

Why you be so negative all the time? I'd really like to know.

You don't trust folks to sort things out so this works for all concerned? OK, but why don't you wish to see the obvious that both parties want this, eh?

Frankly, you don't hear too many complaints from either the American people, or the people of the 78 countries the US has agreement like this with.

Let me tell you what one of our former enemies said about the US a couple years back after relations had been more or less restored.

Ghadafi when oil leasing rights were to be let, favored American firms over others in the EU and elsewhere. He was quoted as saying, " When you make a deal with the Europeans, the split is 60-40, and they take 70. When dealing with America, it is fifty-fifty, and they take 50."

It was not meant as a compliment to us, but as a simple statement of fact as he'd experienced it. Different context, but a real insight into the nature of the mindset behind American Foreign policy in general.

We Americans are best known for being up front, in your face, and honest about it. We do buisiness the same way.

Speaking personally, my dealings with people are on a handshake and one's word.

Which is why those sitting on the gaping hole in the carpet of their rhetoric call the US, "the international arrogence."

Indeed we are proud of helping folks around the world live better lives, in peace.

Too bad others cannot be.

.

Latest Stories

April 6, 2009

Afghanistan and NATO

The White House Blog provides information about President Obama's remarks on Afghanistan after the NATO meeting: In a press conference… more

Pages