Why Graft Thrives in Postconflict Zones ; A Report Issued Wednesday Said Iraq Could Become 'The Biggest Corruption Scandal in History.'

By Mark Rice-Oxley Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, March 17, 2005 | Go to article overview

Why Graft Thrives in Postconflict Zones ; A Report Issued Wednesday Said Iraq Could Become 'The Biggest Corruption Scandal in History.'


Mark Rice-Oxley Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Five Polish peacekeepers are arrested for allegedly taking $90,000 worth of bribes in Iraq. Several Sri Lankan officials are suspended for mishandling tsunami aid. US audits show large financial discrepancies in Iraq. Reports of aid abuse taunt Indonesia.

Two of the world's biggest-ever reconstruction projects - Iraq and post-tsunami Asia - are facing major tests of credibility, as billions of dollars of aid and reconstruction money pour in.

And according to a major report released Wednesday by Transparency International (TI), an international organization that focuses on issues of corruption, the omens are not good.

From Iraq and Afghanistan to Cambodia and Bosnia, from the wrecked coasts of Asia to the kleptocratic carve-up in some African countries, crisis zones are proving to be fertile soil for corruption, the report argues.

"Many postconflict countries figure among the most corrupt in the world," says Philippe le Billon of the University of British Columbia, Canada, in the TI report. "Corruption often predates hostilities and in many cases it features among the factors that triggered political unrest or facilitated conflict escalation."

The report cites weak government, haphazard law and order, armed factions that need appeasing, and a scramble for rich resources as factors that render a country prone to corruption.

Nations that face security threats are even more vulnerable, since they require protection money and may not be able to keep monitors safe.

Bosnia is a good example. During the breakdown of communism in the late 1980s, factions scrambled for assets by plundering state companies, a situation exacerbated by the 1992-1995 war.

Wartime sanctioned nefarious activity. Criminal gangs became cherished paramilitary groups; black markets flourished; underworld players became rich and powerful. After peace was declared in 1995, the world community was wary of upsetting the status quo. It's still unclear how much of the $5 billion spent on aid after the war ended up in the pockets of shady characters.

"These elements were either part of the ruling political parties, or criminal elements that were financing the ruling political parties," says James Lyon, an analyst in Belgrade with the International Crisis Group.

In Iraq, allegations range from petty bribery to large-scale embezzlement, expropriation, profiteering and nepotism. The TI report says it could become "the biggest corruption scandal in history."

"I can see all sorts of levels of corruption in Iraq," says report contributor Reinoud Leenders, "starting from petty officials asking for bribes to process a passport, way up to contractors delivering shoddy work and the kind of high-level corruption involving ministers and high officials handing out contracts to their friends and clients."

The recent elections may help, he adds, but already he notes a tendency for political bargaining indicative of "dividing up the cake of state resources."

But it is not just about Iraqis dividing up the cake. US audits of its own spending have found repeated shortcomings, including a lack of competitive bidding for contracts worth billions of dollars, payment of contracts without adequate certification that work had been done, and in some cases, outright theft. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why Graft Thrives in Postconflict Zones ; A Report Issued Wednesday Said Iraq Could Become 'The Biggest Corruption Scandal in History.'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.