Saturday, December 06, 2003

Let me be your eyes....series III.

This time I'm going to talk about the situation of private business and property in post Saddam Iraq.
During the days of the last Id, I was wandering in the streets of Baghdad, and I saw some scenes which got my attention, and I think those scenes worth to be presented to the readers who care about the situation in Iraq.
It started when I went (with some of my friends) to a coffee shop on the river bank to have a cup of tea, play domino, and maybe smoke a "nargeelah", this place was one of our regulars in college days, but this time it was so much different, the old tables and chairs were replaced by new ones, many other luxurious stuff (furniture and decorations) were placed. Every thing was renewed, even the floor and the near-by garden.
I asked one of the waiters about the secret behind this sudden improvement, he laughed and told me: Saddam's gone now, and our boss can expand his business without worrying about being kicked out of this place and losing every thing he spent on this coffee shop, Saddam and his relatives had enormous greed for any piece of land near the river".
However, we left the coffee shop and headed towards one of the beautiful streets of Baghdad (Karrada) to have dinner, I was surprised to see that the stores were full of goods, of every kind and origin, even the side walk was used by some of the shop keepers to display their goods.
many new shopping centers, restaurants, internet cafe's and hotels with many floors were under construction, the point is, in Saddam's days, the maximum limit of buildings' heights was 4 or 5 floors(except governmental buildings and some hotels)so that no building would be overlooking his palaces.
This is over now.
Another thing is that Iraqis are now free to start their own business with no fear of having their money and effort stolen.
Uday, Qussay or other members of that gang used to keep an eye on the prosperous companies and investments in Iraq and they would never hesitate to confiscate any property or successful firm they desired. Their greed seemed to be endless.
Something else which may seem unbelievable to some of you, is about cars, I was surprised to see some cars of models and kinds never seen before in Baghdad.
Fancy and expensive cars (like porche or jaguar) were exclusively owned by Udday, no one had the right to own and drive a car like those without having the permission from Uday himself, otherwise this unlucky man would be forced to give his car to Uday as a "gift".
the list is too long, and I can write about this for hours, but I think what I've said so far can give you a clue about the past, present and future of private business and property in Iraq.

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