Iraq: International Cash Cow

Before rebuilding, powerful countries and corporations take their cut of war reparations

| October 21, 2004

Iraq is the most heavily indebted country in the world, but while the U.S. and Britain have been publicly lobbying other nations to forgive up to 95 percent of that debt, the two countries have collected $37 million and $32.8 million in war reparations, respectively. Seventy-eight percent of these payments have gone to multinational corporations, the majority of whom are entitled to payment not because they were directly harmed in Iraq, but because they 'lost profits' during Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Over twenty-million dollars in reparations have gone to the oil industry; $3.8 million was paid out to Pepsi, $321,000 to Kentucky Fried Chicken, and $189,449 to...yes, Toys R Us. Even James Baker, George Bush's Iraqi debt envoy, is poised to get in on the action with his connection to the Carlyle group, a huge investment firm that has been contracted to facilitate the reparations.

With the bloodshed and suffering in Iraq increasing by the day, more and more money is needed to provide humanitarian aid and rebuild the country's shattered infrastructure. Yet the money isn't coming into Iraq; it's moving out. As a result, the United States --and, by extension, allies such as Britain -- is undercutting their current justification for war: supposedly liberating the people of Iraq from a cruel and tyrannical government.

Go there >>Reparations in Reverse

Go there too >> Bush Special Envoy Embroiled in Controversy Over Iraq Debt

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