Centre for Research on Globalisation
Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation

Destroying Iraq's Public Records

by Saad Kiryakos

Global Outlook, Issue No 5, Summer-Fall 2003
www.globalresearch.ca   July 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/KIR307A.html

Click here for details on  Global Outlook, Issue No. 5

The destruction of all public records creates a lucrative business environment for US corporations, because the registry of public and private ownership has been destroyed.

What is the real Agenda? What is happening in Iraq goes beyond the chaos which happens in the aftermath of wars and natural disasters.

US forces have not only unleashed the destruction of Iraq's national identity as a country (its history and cultural heritage), they are also responsible for destroying Iraq's public records. Why did US forces, entering Baghdad provide no protection to the public building with the exception of Iraq's Ministry of Oil headquarters?

Who are those arsonists? What is the hidden agenda behind the destruction of museums, libraries, and public records? What is the American role in this destruction? According to Robert Fisk

"something is terribly wrong when US soldiers are ordered simply to watch vast ministries being burnt by mobs and do nothing about it... The looters come first. The arsonists turn up later, often in blue-and-white buses. I followed one after its passengers had set the Ministry of Trade on fire and it sped out of town. The official US line on all this is that the looting is revenge – an explanation that is growing very thin – and that the fires are started by "remnants of Saddam's regime", the same "criminal elements", no doubt, who feature in the marines' curfew orders. But people in Baghdad don't believe Saddam's former supporters are starting these fires. And neither do I. The looters make money from their rampages but the arsonists have to be paid. The passengers in those buses are clearly being directed to their targets."1

This looting-arson scenario was repeated all over Iraq. Social infrastructure including schools, hospitals and universities were systematically looted.

Dr.Abdul Jabbar Khalefa, the president of the University of Basra, in an interview with Al Jazeera accused British forces of encouraging organized mobs to enter the university campus, resulting in the destruction of scientific equipment, class-rooms, computers and university records.

The same thing occurred on the campus of Baghdad University which was "protected" by US forces. Professor Karem Sabar recalls, in this regard, the first moments when US marines entered the university campus. He distinctly heard one of the soldiers, who spoke fluent Arabic, inviting the looters to enter the campus and ransack its contents. This took place prior to the acts of arson, which set the university on fire.

Ethnic and Social Divisions

The destruction of all public records will inevitably exacerbate ethnic divisions within Iraqi society.

It is worth noting that upon entering Kurkuk and Mosil, the two major cities in the northern Iraq, Kurdish forces (With the support of its US military aid aided by the US military), immediately destroyed The Land Registry Offices, thereby wiping out the public record of land and property titles.

This destruction of the Registry creates a new legitimacy, it grants power and property to the US supported Kurdish military. By the same token it creates conditions which could potentially trigger a civil war.

Reconstruction and Privatisation

The destruction of public records also creates a lucrative business environment for US corporations, because the registry of ownership titles no longer exists. Ownership claims by Iraqi citizens can be disregarded because the records have been obliterated. Foreign capital can take over land and assets. Iraq's extensive public sector dominated most key areas of economic activity. Burning and destroying the public records makes the reconstruction of the public sector a "mission impossible". So, what is the alternative? The nation's wealth will be handed over to American corporations on a silver platter, in the context of US-World Bank sponsored privatisation programme.


1. Robert Fisk, The Guardian, 17 April 2003.

This article was published in Global Outlook, Issue No. 5

Saad Kiryakos is an Analyst of Iraqi and Middle East affairs, involved in the media debate in Canada on the Iraqi war and its aftermath. He teaches Economics at the University of Ottawa. All rights reserved. Copyright belongs to the author. © Copyright Saad Kiryakos and Global Outlook 2003  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .