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US to ignore UN sanctions?
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Friday, 16 May 2003
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The U.S. is threatening to open a new rift with the United Nations by bypassing international sanctions to kick-start the rebuilding of Iraq, reports The Times (U.K.). Officials at the Pentagon argue that sanctions are preventing American companies from importing the equipment that they need to reconstruct the country. Jay Garner, the retired general overseeing the first phase of postwar transition, has blamed the constraints imposed by UN sanctions for fuelling Iraqi anger against U.S. forces. If the UN Security Council fails to lift the trade embargo imposed on Iraq in 1990, the Bush administration would simply ignore it, under plans being pushed in Washington, says the piece. In other news, the U.S. is calling for the privatization of Iraqs state-owned industries in parts of the oil sector, for forming a stock market complete with electronic trading and fundamental tax reform, the Wall Street Journal reports. Execution of the plan will fall largely to private American contractors working alongside a smaller team of U.S. officials. The initial plans are laid out in a confidential 100-page U.S. contracting document titled "Moving the Iraqi Economy from Recovery to Sustainable Growth." The consulting work could be valued at as much as $70 million for the first year. The paper reports that news of the plan is likely to intensify already-sharp international criticism of Washingtons unilateral actions in Iraq, as it makes scant mention of any involvement of multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and the IMF, both key players in similar reform efforts in Russia and Eastern Europe.
 
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