Friday, February 20, 2004

The Brewing Saddam 'Oil Voucher' Scandal

(Read the full story at MEMRI here)In a little known program, Saddam Hussein issued a series of 'oil vouchers' in exchange for goods imported illegally into Iraq in violation of the UN embargo. According to the report:

"The voucher holder would normally tender the voucher to any one of the specialized companies operating in the United Arab Emirates for a commission which initially ranged from $0.25 to $0.30 per barrel, though it may have declined in later years to as little as $0.10 or even $0.05 per barrel because of oil surplus on the market. In other words, a voucher for 1 million barrels would have translated into a quick profit of $250,000-300,000 on the high side and $50,000-100,000 on the low side - all paid in cash."

The list of recipients of this illegal program was the property of the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) and has been verified by A former undersecretary in the Iraqi Ministry of Petroleum, Abd Al-Saheb Salman Qutb.

This has the potential to be one of the largest scandals of recent times, especially as it sheds a lot of light on why certain countries were so against our entry into Iraq. Here are a few names:

Not surprisingly, the Arab media has said little. It would be bad form to show that the Iraqi people were sold out by their fellow Arabs for oil money. Especially those Arabs who claimed to care so much about them. They decried the embargo while profiting from it at the same time. Nice. Do yourself a favor and read the whole article. It's eye-opening.
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