Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Saddam Regime's Illegal Income

I dealt with this two posts down, but I decided to post this update as a separate post. too.

A recent NYT article mentioned $ 228 [sic! $ 229] billion Iraq gathered from surcharges on oil sold through the UN's Oil For Foods program, referencing the Duelfer Report. I searched for it in the document, and indeed it also deals with Saddam's illegal income (from page 154 of "Regime Finance and Procurement" section). Like the babbling neocons, who used some earlier estimate, here we also find a $ 11 billion total (page 218) - only they themselves admit that the largest sub-sum included, oil sold through the Jordan Protocol was legal: without it the sum is $ 6.5 billion.

As for surcharges, they were collected big-time only from 2000, and until 2003. I pointed out in the earlier post that oil surcharges were legal until rules were changed in September 2001 - so the roughly half of the $ 229 million displayed here (which is much lower than the $ 1 billion upper ceiling I estimated, and the $ 2 billion figure neocons usually babble about) that according to the table (and my estimate) came in late 2001 and in 2002 was either illegal, or it was paid late for earlier contracts.

Of the remaining $ 6.3-6.4 billion, $ 1.5 billion are kickbacks. This is not based on actual evidence, but is an estimate out of thin air: they just assumed 10% kickback on all of the oil sold by the regime through the OFFP.

What remains is the $ 4.759 billion from illegal oil exports though the Syrian Protocol and 'private sector', and the much smaller Turkey and Egypt Protocols, which are based on allegedly genuine documents from Iraq's oil ministry. The illegal oil exports claimed by the CIA are also less than the minimum I guesstimated above. But still three times the alleged UN OFFP ripoff.


At 8:06 PM, Blogger josh narins said...

We should be able to nail the 10% kickback figure, also.

1. Get our hands on all oil contract data, and the delivery details.

2. Compare it with spot and forward prices for oil contracts signed at the same time.

Number 2 is very, very available. I've written scripts to download such data in bulk from websites before.

If Iraqi oil sold through Oil-for-Food was more than 90.99% of the price of other oil, then it is impossible to conclude that the kickbacks were 10%.

However, I don't have the data.


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