Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Behind the Scenes in Iraq - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

The repercussions of the situation of the US Blackwater company, which specializes in providing security in Iraq, are still occupying the headlines of the international media. This company, in addition to Halliburton, is considered the best example of outsourcing in the American war in Iraq. Never, in the history of the military, has the level of subcontracting to carry out legitimate and illegitimate missions, reached its current stage as in Iraq by governmental (and non-governmental) authorities.

The stories that were allowed to be published, (there are horrific stories that some established publications such as The New York Times, and The New Yorker magazine and others have refused to publish), highlight the vast number of abuses and violations committed in Iraq. The issue is not limited to violations of agreements and contracts, rather, it involves cases of theft and embezzlement (the amount of lost sums of money in Iraq “after” the arrival of occupation forces is estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars), whilst not forgetting the crimes of intimidation and murder that are sometimes registered as “friendly fire” or as human error for which apologies are made.

The figure that is frequently mentioned is the number of members of the American military forces in Iraq which is estimated at 130,000 soldiers; however, the more important figure is the number of contracted “individuals”. There are two declared statistics; one which was issued by the popular Los Angeles Times newspaper, which stated that the number could reach 65,000, whilst the British newspaper, Independent, explains that the figure may be up to 110,000. In both cases, both figures are a cause of great concern. It is odd that there are many other parties that seek to take advantage of this state by provoking the troubled security situation, considering the enormous benefits that contracting companies gain and the amounts and fees that they charge.

Continuous requests for the withdrawal of American forces do not affect the companies located there, and these are no less dangerous than the occupier and its foolish policies. There are many honest people in the United States who sponsor unprecedented campaigns to identify major violations within the field of contracting in Iraq and the impact that this has on the American budget and the American taxpayer. A number of alarming surprises have emerged that all point in the direction of the neo-conservatives and the earthquake from which American foreign policy has suffered since its forceful entry into Iraq.

The Iraqi scene is bleak, but what is going on behind the scenes is no less dangerous; it must be dealt with the same level of importance.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

More Posts