Friday, June 27, 2003

It turns out capital isn't quite so keen on colonizing Iraq as the Bush administration is.
The risks for companies have been highlighted by apparent sabotage attacks on oil pipelines. Intelligence gathered by Kroll, the corporate security group, advises clients that political transition is unlikely to go smoothly. "It is pretty unlikely that the kind of liberal capitalist democracy that has been talked about is going to emerge any time soon," said the consultancy. The Kroll report, which is being sold for $5,800 to corporate clients and agencies, outlines four potential short-term scenarios but says two - a stable "soft landing" or complete fragmentation - are extremely unlikely. Instead, it concentrates on the even chances of a "wobbly landing" or an "Iraqi revolt". Its findings are based on field visits and the advice of security experts.
Two notable points. The first is that corporate intelligence types -- folks with real money on the line and not just idiots like Tom Friedmann who wager their supposed prestige -- think outright military revolt in Iraq has a 50-50 shot. That's pretty scary. With news like this, capital is likely to stay well away from the hard work in Iraq and prefer instead to cherry pick where US forces provide huge amounts of security for their projects. This further means that the US military presence will be significant well into the foreseeable future. That is, we can't begin to imagine when US forces will be out of the country.

Second point is that Kroll is charging $5800 for this report. That's serious money just for security information, even for corporate CEOs living off the fat of the Pentagon's land. If Kroll can actually get that kind of money, it means firms are seriously concerned about their security situation in Iraq. In the medium-term, capital's opinion and not the neocon's views matter most.

But remember, capital will brave any hell-hole if there are profits to be made. Look for lots of US taxpayer-funded "incentives" for Corporate America to commit to Iraq.

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