Iraq’s $79-Billion Windfall
Posted on Aug 5, 2008
A congressional report has found that the Iraqi government will soon have a $79-billion surplus, thanks to the record price of oil. It’s a figure that will surely raise eyebrows as the U.S. shells out an additional $48 billion for reconstruction, but the situation, like all things involving billions and bombs, is a lot more complicated.
For one thing, it’s a bit rude to shock and awe a country, funnel billions in reconstruction funds to corporate cronies that suck at reconstructing things, and then demand that those ingrates we’ve occupied start paying their share.
But the unspent billions, some of which is gathering dust in New York, speaks to an arrangement that doesn’t seem to be working for anybody.
New York Times:
The soaring price of oil will leave the Iraqi government with a cumulative budget surplus of as much as $79 billion by year’s end an American federal oversight agency has concluded in an analysis released on Tuesday.
The unspent windfall, which covers surpluses from oil sales from 2005 through 2008, appears likely to put an uncomfortable new focus on the approximately $48 billion in American taxpayer money devoted to rebuilding Iraq since the American-led invasion.
Over all, the report from the Government Accountability Office estimates, Iraqi oil revenue from 2005 through the end of this year will amount to at least $156 billion. And in an odd financial twist, large amounts of the surplus money is sitting in an American bank in New York—nearly $10 billion at the end of 2007, with more expected this year, when the accountability office estimates a skyrocketing surplus.