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Crimes of Neo-Liberal Rule in Occupied Iraq

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 47 Issue: 2 Dated: March 2007 Pages: 177-195
Dave Whyte
Date Published
March 2007
19 pages
In order to explore issues associated with the legality of the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq, this article analyzes primary data obtained from fieldwork conducted at Iraq reconstruction conferences and trade fairs, as well as secondary data from official sources.
The ascendancy of neo-liberal market hegemony (leadership or dominance) promotes a value system that emphasizes entrepreneurialism and the pursuit of self-interest above other social values. Neo-liberal ideology promotes the moral worthiness of profit-seeking in opposition to socialized systems of economic organization. Under such a value system, the behavior of participants in markets is best regulated by a "hidden hand" as opposed to government rules. The boundaries between "corrupt" and "legitimate" conduct should, wherever possible, be drawn out by the market, rather than by artificially imposed state regulation. Neo-liberal capitalism produces and reproduces relatively unregulated spaces for commercial activity. Such an economic value system is prevailing in Iraq under the Anglo-American occupation. During 14 months in office, the Anglo-American government of occupation, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), restructured the economy and spent over $20 billion in Iraqi oil revenue, most of which was disbursed to U.S. corporations by the CPA directly or through Iraqi ministries. Since the disbanding of the CPA, evidence of widespread corruption in the reconstruction economy has emerged. This neo-liberal strategy of economic colonization was facilitated by major violations of the international laws of conflict and by unilaterally granting immunity from prosecution to U.S. personnel. The suspension of the normal rule of law by the occupying powers encouraged CPA tolerance of and participation in the theft of public funds in Iraq. State-corporate criminality in the case of occupied Iraq must be understood as part of a wider strategy of political and economic domination. 61 references