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Friday, October 31, 2003

Nuggets of Insight from Juan Cole
So far the CPA plan for Iraq appears to be to just let businessmen and wealthy landlords run wild, with all the risks of repeating the disastrous errors made in post-Soviet Russia.
I'd say that one could forgive the Iraqis if they conclude that the American system in Iraq is a form of state socialism, with Bremer playing the Politburo, giving orders and exercising a veto even though no one elected him to office, and Halliburton and Bechtel playing state-supported industries. Perhaps it looks more like Cuba so far than like capitalist democracy.
(more here)

I was glad finally to see some experts in international law raise questions about the American shock therapy plan for Iraq, which involves selling off state owned enterprises and allowing foreign firms to buy 100% of them and then immediately to export the profits out the country. It also deregulates all finance and banking. The Financial Times says questions were raised at a recent conference in London about whether for the Occupying authorities to take this step was legal under the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention (I have argued that it is not). (more here)