Companies gear up for a share of Iraq reconstruction
Date: 6 Apr 2003
Halliburton, the company formerly headed by US Vice President Dick Cheney, has been reported as being out of the running for place of prime contractor for the reconstruction of Iraq once the Gulf War has ended.
Halliburton had been one of five major US companies bidding on the contract to rebuild roads, bridges and hospitals after the war, and had been a lightning rod for criticism of favouritism in the allocation of the spoils of war. Halliburton remains likely to act as a subcontractor for some of the work.
Meanwhile in the UK Stuart Doughty, chief executive of Costain, has come under fire for commenting that the government should bypass the United Nations in deciding on governance in post-war Iraq, in order to ensure that "those who have been violently against this conflict don't share in the reconstruction".
The comments have been attacked by aid agencies, who argue that the role of the UN must be key to the future of Iraq, as well as some of his competitors. The Guardian reported an unnamed executive from another UK company who responded: "I thought what Stuart Doughty said was disgraceful. I don't think it is at all seemly for companies to be making comments like that."
The rush of companies to get a slice of the action has provoked a certain amount of distaste from commentators on both sides of the Atlantic, although certain companies have pointed to the social value of the reconstruction work.
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