War Profits: Troops In, Contracting Out

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There may be profits to be made from securing control of Iraq oilfield at the end the war, but US companies are already cashing in as they queue to secure contracts to repair infrastructure currently being destroyed.

One of the first was Stevedoring Services of America, which is a major donor to the Republican Party and was given a £3 million contract to administer Iraq's ports, including Umm Qasr. The contract was awarded even before the British gained control of the port.

But by far the biggest beneficiary is Halliburton, the Dallas-based company which is set to secure a contract valued at $900 million to rebuild Iraq's roads, electricity plants and other infrastructure. One of Hallibuton's subsidiary companies, Kellogg Brown and Root has already been given millions to put out oilfield fires.

Not surprisingly US vice-president Dick Cheney is the former chief executive of Halliburton. He left the company in August 2,000 to become Bush's running mate for the presidency, but has maintained close links with the company since then.

Halliburton has few worries as to who it deals with. Between 1988 and 1999 it had $23.8 million of business contracts for the sale of lraq's oil.

Halliburton was also among more than a dozen firms that supplied Iraq's petroleum industry with spare parts when UN sanctions were in place. Cheney was quick to ash in when he left the company. He made $18.5 million selling his shares in August 2000. Now, as one of the main people responsible for allocating the rich pickings on offer he is repaying his mates in kind.