Iraq: 2030 and Beyond
By Jack Jia
Finalist for Politics Essay of the Year,York Mills
With the global consumption of oil to continue rising with little over 20 years of supply left, the issues that Iraq faces today will only become more difficult to deal as the oil taps runs dry. The outsourcing of national security to private military corporation G4S, continued privatization of Iraq’s valuable oil resources and the risen political and religion clashes within the country are the critical issues it has to face today, or else within a short period amount of time, Iraq will once again be thrown into hell like it did 27 years ago. Perhaps for once in the past 27 years, Iraqis can break its chain of oppression to the companies that now owns the world one thing for all, or is that just simply wishful thinking? This is not going to be a typical Washington think-tank optimistic day dream of the application of a laughable fairy tale, this will be a realistic grim take of the bloodbath that will take place to solve these issues, in order to save the body, sometimes, and you have to cut off its leg.
The Rise of the PMCs
In the year we live right now, 2030, the most powerful military force in Iraq won’t be its army, it will be a corporation, and its outcome will be bone chillingly horrifying. We had an assumption once upon time of why we go to war and who fights it, it was its citizens and the motivations are about politics and patriotism, and that is no longer the case anymore, it’s about money. Private Military industry have exploded right after 9/11 terrorist attack that took place nearly 29 years ago, an event that resulted the Iraq occupation for over a decade. (12) It was during that decade when Iraq arm was striped and replaced with an equivalence of paramilitary status while generous contracts were given to a group of contractors(13), especially G4S- a Britain based company that have become the 3rd largest company in the world, to guard and maintain Iraq’s critical infrastructures like the Bagdad International Airport(14) and its ports and highways and prison.(5) When United States choose to withdraw from Iraq in 2011, they left most of the lucrative contracts to the PMCs. These companies have then established their heavy presence in Iraq and recruiting at a large volume as their sizes expands rapidly until its height we see today. But most of the hiring wasn’t done locally, rather, it was done externally, since 2004, more developed country citizens took four year contracts with PMCs to be stationed in Iraq than the local Iraqis.(15) Back to today, with heavy lobbying push, G4S finally won the police contract last year of the entire Iraq, the main reason was the cost reduction process taken by Iraq government to lower its national debt and heavy corruption among the new Iraq security force. (12)G4S claiming that it have employed heavily in local, but walking onto the street in Baghdad today and you will see that despite with the flag of Iraq on their uniforms, most securities carrying assault rifles are in fact, not domestic. These new comers speak Arabic and Kurdish poorly and little motivation to do their job other than parading around in their armored trucks. PMCs pleads no allegiances to anyone but the highest bidder, they have been taken over the Iraq military operations since the 1st day Bush announced the mission over in 2004(16). During the interview conducted by Vice documentary regarding the rise of PMCs in Middle East, soldiers were expressing that “no one that is good is still with the army anymore”. With enormous lobbying power across the variety of nations surrounding the including Iraq, any push back and begs the question that "what happened when the people who protects gets a better offer?” Limiting PMCs ‘s power from the Iraqi government will result in strong retaliation by the PMCs. There will be political earthquake and comeback of destabilization across the countries as a result of it, while not desirable, it’s a necessary evil.
Privatized Oil Resources
A country that solely depends on its oil resource to build the basic infrastructure of its economic back sold its soul to the corporations around the globe on its only available resources, which have now become an increasing problem in both political and economic landscape of this country. (8) The soul was sold after 2004 ,under United States’s “strategic guidance”, Iraq held its bid over its richest oil field to all companies around the world(9), regardless of its nationality, with just two of its national oil company (with foreign investors) just holding one of the rich oil field that was already developed heavily previously. The conditions got even worse after 2009 when all new fields that was discovered, which represents nearly 40% of Iraq’s oil reserve , was bided by Exxon, Shell and variety of other western corporations(10). Given that China now rely upon Iran and Russia for its natural gas and oil needs, Chinese corporations rejected the terms proposed by Iraq and given the chance for the western companies to negotiate a much better price on drilling rights and contract lengths, such as the reversal of the critical $1.50 per barrel fee Iraq so desperately needed to start rebuilding its infrastructure. (9)
As times continues and oil resources become more scarcer and prices rises, all super powers want access to the cheapest oil possible and that requires staff the government with your friends(8), which is exactly what these oil companies have done. By now, the last national oil company would have been purchased by Shell and Exxon as they divide and conquer and what’s left of their kingdom.(9) However, similar to the PMCs, western companies would like to have as much as its own kind on the ground as possible, only giving the low paying jobs to the locals, which will continue leave most of Iraq below poverty at the same time paying huge expenses to PMCs and western countries for arms purchase instead of building real economical infrastructure. We also see return of the “Green Zone” since 2003 makes a triumph return – An close gated exclusive zone for outsiders and super rich Iraqis oilmen or politicians to enjoy the hot middle eastern sun while sitting at the poolside with a nice beer in their hands while the chaos and gunshots would echo In the background.(19) The growing difference in income between the group have already created strong tensions, (18)which will certainly be a focus point during the next election, which could very likely see the election of an extreme government , something all nations tend to do during extreme unbalanced economic times. As much as the companies and governments can shower each other with money, they cannot change the fact that Iraq is now a democracy which involves the elections, a one vote per person rule. It’s not questionable or debatable, a society has a limit to the degree political or economic oppression, once you bend over the limit, the society snaps and new system becomes the byproduct.
Lastly, with four variety ethic groups of Sunni Kurd and Sunni Arab, Shia and now foreigners divided in to different zones, this is was consider to be the most difficult to be dealt with when United States was planning to rebuild in Iraq three decades ago, and will continue to be so as we see the rise of ethnic clashes across many zones when the different groups inhabit.(11) To make matter more complex, the religions in Iraq were also divided among the ethics, while most are Muslim, they are then divided into two different semi religions, very similar to Catholics and Christens, and what does that lead to? Civil War.(4) Iraq went through civil war between 2006 and 2007 among the ethics groups displaced near two million people and added 800,000 more in to the poverty lined where Red Cross described as “critical” situation where millions lost access to clean water(2). While the issues described in the previous two chapters will become increasing more important during the elections of 2030 more important than before, it is without a doubt that perhaps religion and ethics still plays a very significant role, which often lead to more tensions and clashes. The pot is boiling in Iraq and in order to fix previous two issues, Iraqis must bond together as one despite each other’s religion, and that will be impossible to achieve. Below is the Iraq elections map from 2014(1), the spread of different ridings’ result is worrisome as it indicated that the group that will vote for one particular party lives in the same region which will also mean there will be little friendly interaction among them.
Only 3% of the analysts in United States during 2006 believed that United States will succeed in creating the democracy laden in the Middle East(1), they have clearly failed. With Shia’s dominance of government for over a decade between 2006 and 2018, the tensions among ethics groups have continue rising as the other groups felt that their political influence is next to non-existence and is hungry for more regardless of the method(3). People is the center of a country and if the center does hold, everything surround it will fall apart, and this is where Iraq’s downfall will be and its highly likely one day we will see the country being split to two , maybe even three separate countries(4). The wires are simply too tangled up to be resolved, perhaps the best resolution is just take a scissor and cut it in half.
In Conclusion, the three issues of the heavy control by the PMCs, the privatization of oil reserves and the inevitable return of ethic clashing, Iraq have a lot of challenging and difficult roads ahead of its self, it will have to make difficult and unethical decisions that have the chance of causing more harm than good, but these decisions in resolving the issues will also be the necessary ones to truly move forward from that horrible and god forsaking war 27 years ago. A famous segment from William Yates’s poem – The Second Poem feels certainly felt the most relatable to the issues that Iraq is having now in 2030 and beyond.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
- William Butler Yates
- 1. "The incumbent digs in - 2014 Iraq Election." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 22 May 2014. Web. 3 June 2014. <http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2014/05/iraqs-election>.
- 2. "Iraq water crisis could stir ethnic clash."UPI. N.p., 27 Jan. 2012. Web. 4 June 2014. <http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2012/01/27/Iraq-water-crisis-could-stir-ethnic-clash/UPI-56601327698003/>.
- 3. RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq. "Deadly Suicide Bombings, Clashes In North Iraq."RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. N.p., 6 June 2014. Web. 6 June 2014. <http://www.rferl.org/content/deadly-suicide-bombings-clashes-in-north-iraq/25413235.html>.
- 4. "Iraq clashes between army and Sunni tribesmen kill 169 in three days." RT News. Russian Times, 25 Apr. 2013. Web. 2 June 2014. <http://rt.com/news/iraq-ethnic-clashes-dead-357/>.
- 5. Dunigan, Molly. "A lesson from Iraq war: How to outsource war to private contractors." The Christian Science Monitor. N.p., 19 Mar. 2013. Web. 6 June 2014. <http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2013/0319/A-lesson-from-Iraq-war-How-to-outsource-war-to-private-contractors>.
- 6. POISUO, PAULI . "10 Frightening Facts About Private Military Companies - Listverse." Listverse. N.p., 7 Jan. 2014. Web. 4 June 2014. <http://listverse.com/2014/01/07/11-frightening-facts-about-private-military-companies/>.
- 7. SALAHEDDIN, SINAN. "Only 1 successful bid in Iraq oil, gas auction." Bloomberg Business Week. Bloomberg, 20 May 2012. Web. 4 June 2014. <http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-05/D9V30K3O1.htm>.
- 8. D. Abdul-Rahman, Saifaldin. "Iraq’s Oil Bid Rounds: Politics and Pitfalls." Middle East Institute. N.p., 12 Apr. 2012. Web. 7 June 2014. <http://www.mei.edu/content/iraq%E2%80%99s-oil-bid-rounds-politics-and-pitfalls>.
9. Al-Ansary , Khalid . "Iraq Starts First Auction of Oil, Gas Exploration Rights."Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 30 May 2012. Web. 8 June 2014. <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-30/iraq-starts-first-auction-of-oil-gas-exploration-rights.html>.
- 10. HAFIDH, HASSAN. "Iraq to Award Oil Field To ExxonMobil, Shel." The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 4 Nov. 2009. Web. 9 June 2014. <http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10
- 11. "Iraqi police clash with militants in Mosul, 59 killed." News. Voice of Russia , 7 June 2014. Web. 7 June 2014. <http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_06_07/Iraqi-police-clash-with-militants-in-Mosul-59-killed-2578/>.
- 12. RT. "Contractors flood into Iraq to give Al-Qaeda a run for the money." - RT News. Russian Times, 4 Feb. 2014. Web. 9 June 2014. <http://rt.com/news/american-military-contractors-iraq-621/>.
- 13. "Beyond Blackwater." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 23 Nov. 2013. Web. 7 June 2014. <http://www.economist.com/news/business/21590370-industry-reinvents-itself-after-demise-its-most-controversial-firm-beyond-blackwater>.
- 14. "G4S wins contract to secure Baghdad International Airport | Iraq Business News." Iraq Business News. N.p., 8 Feb. 2010. Web. 9 June 2014. <http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2010/02/08/g4s-wins-contract-to-secure-baghdad-international-airport/>.
- 15. "G4S In Iraq." G4S. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 June 2014. <http://www.g4siraq.com/>.
- 16. "G4s Secure Solutions (Iraq) Limited."PrivCo. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 June 2014. <http://www.privco.com/private-company/g4s-secure-solutions-iraq-limited>.
- 17. "Ethnic cleansing driving Christians out of Iraq." ABC News. N.p., 16 Nov. 2010. Web. 8 June 2014. <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-11-16/ethnic-cleansing-driving-christians-out-of-iraq/2338084>.
- 18. "Bombings Hit Iraq Near Baghdad's."Foreign Policy. N.p., 4 Feb. 2014. Web. 7 June 2014. <http://mideastafrica.foreignpolicy.com/posts