December 10, 2006

Iraq = not as bad as it seems?

The bloggers at Blogs For Bush don't think Iraq is falling apart. Perhaps only some of the media likes to portray it as so? As President Bush and Sen. McCain push for more troops in Iraq, and after 3 years developing a democracy in Muslim-ruled Iraq, one must ask... What is really going on in Iraq?

Iraq Oil Revenues Surge proves the opposite of a failing, dilapidated Iraq. One would hope...

This is impossible if, as the MSM and ISG claim, the situation in Iraq is deteriorating....but don't take my word for it, take it from an Iraqi who lives in Baghdad:
According to a recent paper published last November by Dow Jones (don't have a link, read a summary on paper) after the world economic forum in the dead sea, Iraq's income from oil exports for this year was at 35 billion dollars with a 14.3% increase from last year's total.

And that if oil export levels retain the current level and under stable prices, the coming year will witness a record income that was never reached in the history of modern Iraq and revenues will jump up to 40 billion dollars; a huge figure given the humble plans of the government and a figure that will put the government in a position where it must come up with new and ambitious plans to match the new revenue figures.

In fact and from what can be read in papers and heard from official statements it seems most government departments failed to spend the funds allocated by the government for those departments to execute their projects. That's not because of security challenges only since there are several regions in the country that are relatively stable and where work can be done but more because of bureaucracy and corruption that make it extremely difficult to implement plans and make sure the money is spent in the right direction.

I think this was what pushed the government to announce a number of new measures to cope with the condition, perhaps the easiest measure to come up with was to announce plans for massive raises for civil servants; according to al-Sabah the raise will be as high as 60% of current payments in some cases, especially to those with lower incomes.

Another announcement followed soon, yesterday al-Sabah brought the news that the parliament is discussing a suggestion to set aside 30% of oil sales income to distribute among the citizens of Iraq. The draft law sets 3 classes of payments according to age and subsequent needs and responsibilities; from one month to 6 years, from 6 to 18 years and the third one 19 years and older.

People who migrated from Iraq, those with salaries higher that 1 million dinars/month and convicted criminals will be excluded from the payment program, the report added.

The people here met the news with some delight, hope and some skepticism too although the announcement came through the government's paper.

The Iraqi people have never really benefited from their oil wealth. Even before Saddam, the money was siphoned off to favored groups and individuals rather than spent for the overall benefit of the people of Iraq. There is also a report out that the Iraqis are finally coming to an agreement on how to share out the oil wealth among the various segments of the Iraqi population. Mohammed over at Iraq the Model goes on to note that this spreading of the wealth will at least held curb the violence in Iraq - what it will do, of course, is make Iraqis stakeholders in both security and liberty. Its like this - if you're waiting for your dividend check from the democratic government of a united Iraq, then you aren't going to do anything to interfere with delivery.

Now, the impossible part of this is the fact of Iraq having any significant oil revenues. If Iraq were disintegrating in a spiral of violence, then the simplest thing in the world would be for the allegedly ever more powerful insurgency to cut off Iraqi exports. No one in Iraq is going to destroy the means of getting oil out of the ground - the enemy wants to take over this wealth, not destroy it - but the means of getting oil from ground to port are few and exceptionally vulnerable. Vulnerable except, of course, that you'd have to do some stand up fighting with the American and Iraqi armies if you wanted to attack consistently enough to disrupt shipments - meaning that if such attacks aren't happening, then the so-called insurgency is incapable of making them.

There is something uniform about the stories of a collapsing Iraq - all of them are not stories generated by the Iraqi government, the American government or the military and police forces concerned. In other words, only outsiders - most of whom never stray from the "green zone" - say Iraq is falling apart. Furthermore, since most of the people who claim its bad are in the "green zone", they are the perfect audience for the terrorists who always manage to set off their bombs in front of cameras...and who, as we can see from AP reports, have gotten themselves hired as stringers for the MSM, and thus can just make up horrific stories when the terrorists are incapable of producing horrific acts.

Always look for facts when making a decision. Someone saying something isn't a fact - Iraqi oil revenues at record levels, that is a fact, and it indicates more clearly than a thousand MSM reports and ISG pontifications what is really happening, day by day, on the ground in Iraq.

Posted by Mark Noonan at December 9, 2006 04:35 PM


Blogger Hammer said...

That mirrors what many of our soliders are saying. Infrastructure is improving, untilities are coming online and business are popping up all over the place. Hardly the picture of doom and gloom the MSM would love for us to believe.

11:15 PM  

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