Tuesday, July 29, 2008
A very interesting article from the front page of Al Akhbar on the creation by the US occupation forces in Iraq of a socio-economic group dependent on development aid. It goes like this: around its bases, the US army encourages (by funding them) the initiation of small artisanal enterprises for food and handicrafts. The army then makes purchases in order to keep the small traders alive. Small settlements are created around the bases. These provide a good buffer of people who have vested interest in protecting the US army and who act as informers. According to the article, the US army is claiming these activities as part of its social development and poverty alleviation program, and the authors point to the obvious: that Iraq is a rich country and does not need charity. It only needs to be freed from occupation and to have governance over its own resources. In another section of the same article, the US army has encouraged the Iraqi tribes to organize a transportation mafia, each tribe providing safe passage on its territory to US military and other goods. The mafia is organized, like all mafias, as a corporation. This is how Iraq is being liberated and modernized: by blending tribalism with the mob.