The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Rebuilding Iraq for Oil Profit, Not People

Feb 19, 2018

A conference about the reconstruction of Iraq took place in Kuwait from February 12-14. Almost 2,000 people participated, including representatives from 74 different countries, along with numerous NGOs and big corporations.

These conference participants talk about the destruction caused by ISIS, but they “forget” to mention the role of the big powers in the devastation of Iraq. Starting with the 1991 Persian Gulf War and then the U.S.-imposed sanctions, the U.S. had already killed a million Iraqis before it invaded in 2003. After the invasion, the U.S. and its big-power allies rested on different ethnic militias, played them against each other, and in the process produced ISIS and widespread terrorism in the country.

These are the same big powers that now want to profit from a market that their devastating policies have helped produce. Their goal is obviously not to reconstruct the country in order to improve the situation of the population brutally thrown into poverty. Rather, they seek to profit from Iraq’s oil wealth.

Two or three million people have been displaced by the war against ISIS. 138,000 houses were totally or partially destroyed, along with 14 hospitals in the Mosul region. The Iraqi government announced that it will take 88 billion dollars to rebuild. The funds so far allocated are less than one percent of that – but the new projects the government has announced are still attracting Western capitalists.

Of the 157 projects planned, the Iraqi government designated 41 high priority – and 18 of these are for the oil industry. This reconstruction will allow the capitalist investors to put their hands on Iraqi oil. Their investments in refineries, pipelines, and oil terminals will serve to assure them new profits.

It is the same with the infrastructure projects. The Iraqi government promises “opportunities for investment in the transportation sector and also in tourism.” The reconstruction of the Mosul airport and the principal railways (Baghdad-Basra and Baghdad-Mosul) and the construction of a metro system in Baghdad will let corporations grab control of Iraq’s infrastructure.

The big powers are competing to divide the market in favor of their capitalists. This will serve to further enrich some big companies. But none of this will ameliorate the situation of the population.