Wednesday, January 16, 2008



Can anyone tell us just who are those Americans that are doing business in our country? Where did they come from, which schools did they attend if ever; and who brought them over here? As if this is what we needed, an extra dish-up of business trash. One Sistani follower told BC “they are America’s Zebbilian” - Zebbil in Iraqi means garbage. Some of those Zebblian smell so bad they even make the MBA degree holders look like immaculate saints.

The industrial projects in Iraq have been sect-driven since 2005, but recently the American ‘entrepreneurs’ are catching-up at a rapid pace with that trend to a point some of them are turning into Hadji John and Hadji Tommy of the Sheikh Omar market. No project worth of USD 100 - 150Million gets done unless it is blessed by some American official, who gets his squeaking wheels oiled!, and of course the bigger bulk of the project – the icing on the cake, goes directly to US foreign firms and subsidiaries. And ultimately, what left of the bone is tossed for the hungry Iraqi dogs.

Not long ago an Iraqi business man took a delegation of pure bred Americans to Italy, to witness an ITP (inspection and test plan) for rotary equipments destined to Iraq at an American owned factory. The delegation spent the 6 days trip enjoying Tuscany meals and Red Wine, and visiting Florence and Venice, and they did not even pay a single hour visit to the factory. When he went back to Iraq and reported it to the ministry he was told “to sweep it under the carpet!” and this is just one manor example.

Projects Vendor Approved Lists are infested with Americans suppliers and lots of products cannot be procured from anywhere else unless it is American owned or subsidized. And the Iraqis are finding it hard to do business as American products are overtly expensive – as per official quotations/ related logistics! And the margins have been reduced to minimal. And what makes it even worse is that the dollar value is reduced to the weight of a mere Sri Lankan Rupee, which means that the Iraqis need to put more dollar cash to purchase American products while the their return on profits (in Dollars) are constantly devaluated and it is infuriating. This going trend is not a form of open market capitalism; this is Victorian style market totalitarianism that should be truncated when the invaders go home.

Another example is when a US contracting company was so adamant to bring an entire team from the US for a call-off maintenance contract. And they were 1000 times more costly than if the contractor had hired Iraqi men to do the job and they are plentiful and with good job references. But when the client raised the issue the US contractor’s excuse was that Iraqis lack the know-how, they are untrustworthy and they speak little English. Needless to say the US maintenance team spends half of the time behind their laptops while the site work is done by untrustworthy Iraqi assistants that speak little English!!

Lots of US ‘businessmen’ peewees entered Iraq since the invasion and it was quite evident from the beginning that the majority was far from being successful back home in their own country – some say they are high school drop-outs and America’s unfit.

Conversely, we the Iraqis have turned into one of the most demoralized, corrupt and constantly unemployed work force in the entire eastern hemisphere and globally I think we surpassed the Nigeria example. The other day a friend was boasting his gutsy business approach when he confirmed that he made a big junk of profit for supply of testing equipment, made in Korea, for an Environmental Department at the Oil ministry “that has no use for and has been sitting at their warehouse for more than a year and half”. And when I asked him why it was ordered then he said “it was an item that was put on the ministry’s purchase list by ‘someone’, which turned out to be his cousin!”

On a different note, and similarly, guess what this forgotten war loony got in return for this achievement? A door mat job worth USD 1 Million. Not bad but not that great as his new boss JP Morgan (worth more than USD 1.5 trillion in capital and the sole administrator for Iraq’s Trade Bank of Al Chalabi! – lone responsible for L/Cs opening) can afford more than 1 Million people like him… everyman comes with its price!

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