Monday, January 29, 2007

Iran gets into the Iraq investmet game

Apparently, Hassan Kazemi Qumi, Iran’s Ambassador to Baghdad has outlined a plan for Iran to give Iraq economic and security assistance (NYT). This ought to get interesting.

Of course, given the botched and bungled US reconstruction efforts, at least the Shiite factions in Iraq might welcome some extra cash flowing into the country.

Iran has current economic woes of its own, which has helped reduce the popularity of President Ahmadinejad. I wonder how pouring money into Iraq will sit with the struggling Iranian working and middle class.

I also wonder what the cash flow analyses are for investments in Iraq. What year would they turn positive?

One of Iran’s proposals is to build a bank in central Baghdad. That is not a bad idea in a stable oil rich country. Underline the word stable. Unfortunately, somebody might blow it up before it is finished. The only folks making money in Iraq are in the oil business or arms business. These folks will use the bank. As for other Iraqis, why do they need a bank? They have no money to put in it.

The middle class has been decimated in Iraq. Many middle class people have fled the country even if they can find no jobs in foreign lands. No matter how much reconstruction aid and investment someone pours into Iraq, try to fathom how the Iraqi working and middle class will benefit from it. High priority investments will target siphoning off as much of the oil revenue as possible whether the investments come from Iran or the United States.

The majority in the US want an exit from Iraq. US companies will not build banks, power stations, or water treatment centers in the country unless the US government underwrites the effort at no risk to the companies. What that means is that the US government must call on a majority against the war to pay for the underwriting of Iraq investment, which ultimately will flow into the coffers of global companies. Add to that all the folks who are for the war and who do not intend to pay for it, and there is no ready supply of public funds coming from the US.

Global capitalism dominates the world. Even when the body count is atrocious, do not forget to follow the money to see where peoples’ hearts and minds lie.

I have two ideas. One, The US and Iranian banking interests should get together in joint ventures. Nothing brings people together like the anticipation of oil profits.

My second idea is watch your wallet.

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