Thursday, May 31, 2007

De-Baathification (III)

The secret organization brought forth leaders of weird characteristics. They are rude, ignorant persons. Most of them could barely read & write. Still, some of the early Baathists were educated. They had been charmed by the bright motto of Arab unity, freedom, and socialism. One of those is Dr. Jawad Hashim, who had a PhD from London School of Economic & Political Science in the year 1966. He became the minister of planning several times during the era of President Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakir (1968-1979).

Dr. Hashim wrote a book 'An Iraqi Minister Dairy with Al-Bakir & Saddam'. I’ll quote some extracts from this book here. In the year 1967 Dr. Hashim was the secretary of the Iraqi National Board for Education & Social Development. It was before the Baathists could seize power in 1968. The man was assigned by the then Prime Minister Tahir Yahya to prepare a review of the governmental vacancies and to fill them with unemployed high school graduates of that year. He managed to find vacancies more than the number of the graduates. A call was issued for those who would like to be employed. Now, let's read what he wrote about a visit paid to him at work by Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakir (It’s my translation, not an official one):

“Al-Bakir handed me a bunch of applications. I promised him that they would be employed if they met the required qualifications. Al-Bakir assured me that they meet the conditions, but he had a request that these youths to be employed at petrol stations which are located in Karkh (the western part of Baghdad), especially those near to the presidential palace & other main governmental headquarters.”

The reason for such request was to keep an eye on the officials’ movements & to report them to the Baath leaders. The Baathists were preparing a coup to seize power, which took place on 17th July 1968.
This is one of the Baathists’ features which had been developed, later, over 35 years of ruling Iraq. Very sophisticated secret institutions were nurtured introducing a complicated web which can work underground efficiently. It is quite logical that they are using, nowadays, such way to creep into various governmental administrations. Senior Baathist émigrés intimidate those of less ranks, who still live in Iraq, forcing them to do certain dirty tasks. For example, informing the Baath leadership about any new infrastructure projects. And if one of these lower ranks Baathists refused to cooperate, his family could be targeted. It is a mafia work style.

The main mission to be pursued by the Baathist, in the mean time, is to paralyze life in Iraq. It is carried out expertly by an elite of secret service men who had been trained in different countries during the Baath era. But one can notice that the term ‘Baath’ is not used by any group claiming resistance in Iraq. It seems that the mass killings taking place in Iraq should not be connected to the ‘Baath’, so that the Baath could take the role of the savior of the Iraqi people in case of regaining power.

With a very huge amount of money made out of billions of dollars, it becomes so easy to fund sabotage and killings. Let’s read again in Dr. Hashim’s book about the source of these billions:

“A Portuguese company, Colbankian, owned 5% of the Iraqi oil concession. In the years 1972 & 1973, Iraq nationalized its petroleum industry. Saddam decided to keep this 5% revenue to the Baath party in a special bank account outside Iraq. According to Saddam, this amount of money is to be used to regain power in case of a counter coup took place against the Baath regime or a foreign power invaded Iraq.
I recall a private meeting with Saddam attended by Ameen Abdul Kareem (the then minister of finance), Dr. Fawzee Al-Kaisee (the then governor of the central bank) and me, when Saddam said to us:
‘The Baath party seized power in Iraq to rule for 300 years. To maintain ruling Iraq or regaining power in case of counter coup, a huge source of money should be available abroad. We won’t let same mistakes of the experience of 1963 happen again (referring to the ten bloody months the Baath ruled Iraq) when we fell and faced lot of difficulties in finance. So, think, men of economics, how we can make use of the Colbankian nationalized share for the benefit of the party.’
In deed, the Revolution Command Council issued a resolution allocating 5% of Iraq’s oil revenue to the Baath party and to be deposited in special account outside Iraq controlled by Saddam.
According to my estimation, the accumulated revenue of this percentage by the end of 1989 is about $10 billion. Assuming that this amount had been invested in bank accounts of 8-18% interest, then the accumulated amount would be $30 billion by the end of 1990.”


Blogger BrianFH said...

Perhaps you/he mean the end of the 1990s, the whole decade. From 1989 to 1990 is only one year!

4:37 AM  
Blogger Ibn_Alrafidain said...

I think the author is taking the period of time between 1972 & 1990 into consideration. Otherwise, your observation is right. Thank you.

6:12 PM  
Blogger BrianFH said...

Ah, yes, I see you're right. The first figure is revenue only, while the second takes interest compounding into account. Thanks.

1:52 AM  
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