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“Thank you, America!”

Posted by Richard on November 12, 2005

If you haven’t seen their ads on Fox News yet, go to Kurdistan – The Other Iraq and take look at all three (broadband connection recommended, but there are 56k versions). The scripts are available as PDFs.

Save the first one, "Thank You," for last and see if you don’t get choked up. I did.

Check out some of the other links there, too. Iraqi Kurdistan is a tremendous success story that you never hear about in the MSM. Here are a few bullet points from their October update on developments:

  • Erbil International and Suleimani Airports are now fully operational and receive regular direct flights from the region and Europe.
     
  • 3,000 Korean Troops are stationed in Kurdistan to assist in rehabilitating infrastructure such as water supply/sewerage, roads, pavements, school renovations and constructing town halls.
     
  • Erbil hosted an international trade show in September 2005 that attracted 300 national and international exhibitors and 20,000 visitors – not a single security incident occurred.
     
  • The new Investment Law for Kurdistan is currently being ratified by the Kurdistan National Assembly and will be passed in the near future. Additionally, an industrial city is planned near Erbil and is open to international investment.

The site is pushing investment and paints a rosy picture, but it’s not all sugar-coated. "Relationship with the West" begins with a pretty grim account of Western (mostly U.S.) betrayal and indifference from the 70s through the early 90s:

While the Kurds have a long history of learning to live with their enemies, they have an equally long history of being betrayed by their allies. Sadly, even the great democracies of the west have not always lived up to the promises they’ve made to the Kurds.

During the nineteen-seventies the United States supported Kurdish autonomy in northern Iraq in order to pressure Saddam Hussein during his negotiations with Iran. But as soon as agreement was reached the Kurds were unceremoniously abandoned by their U.S. allies and exposed to the full fury and vengeance of Saddam’s regime.

Click on over to the Kurdistan Development Corp. site, too. It might just convince you to invest in the region — the law being drafted sounds pretty favorable to foreign investment. The KDC called it the most business-friendly investment law in the region.

The draft provides various tax exemptions for foreign investment, no restrictions on foreign ownership or repatriation of profits, no quotas for local participation (either labor or capital), and a promise (FWIW) of immunity from nationalization.

The only really negative item I see: the law opens all economic activities to foreign investment "except oil and gas." WTF?? Isn’t that the industry in which they could most use massive infusions of capital? Sigh. I suppose there are some pretty good PR reasons for taking that stand — it’s a field where past history and widespread suspicions make it easy for anti-capitalists to score points by screaming "exploitation!"

There’s such an economic boom going on in Kurdistan that Iraqis from Tikrit and Baghdad are moving north for the jobs (and better security situation). In fact, the Kurds are bringing in foreign guest workers. The city of Suleimaniyah is full of new construction, internet cafes, and young people in jeans talking on cell phones.

And then there’s this:

 

MacDonald's in Kurdistan

I can’t think of a more hopeful, positive sign than that. Makes me want to tell them "You’re welcome!"

UPDATE: Sun. AM, added more investment law details and reformatted a bit.

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One Response to ““Thank you, America!””

  1. dymphna said

    Thanks for this good news. I just spent some time posting the complete and completely stupid Warner amendment to our fiscal outlay for DoD on my site and it left me depressed about what the Senate invertebrates plan to do to ruin our work in Iraq. What is so awful is that Frist and Warner co-sponsored that piece of set-up-to-fail trash. If anyone had been breathing over our shoulders while the 13 colonies tried to work out their differences, we’d have been sunk.As it was, we just postponed our murderous conflict sixty years….and we won’t give them enough time to spit.

    Your post sure was a relief to read.

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