Meanwhile, life in Iraq is deteriorating. Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily report:
The lack of security in Iraq is leading now to a collapse in food supplies.
“Look at us begging for food despite the fortunes we have,” 60-year-old Um Muthanna from Baghdad told IPS. Standing at a vegetable market in central Baghdad where vegetable supplies are not what they used to be, Um Mahmood despaired for Iraq.
“A country with two great rivers should have been the biggest exporter in the world, but now we beg for food from those who participated in killing us.” Iraq is rich in oil and agricultural resources.
Local and international aid flooded into Iraq in 2004, the year following the invasion, but much of the supply was blocked off after the kidnapping of many aid activists in the country.
The food the Iraqis did get was often not what they needed, or wanted.
“Iraqis do not feel at ease receiving food aid when they exported food in the past,” economist Dr. Jassim al-Rikabi told IPS.
“Iraq has been a field of aid NGOs since the U.S. occupation began, and many of those NGOs brought foodstuff that is not what Iraqis were used to, but they had to take it due to the need they were facing.”
Barley, wheat, pulses and the famous Iraqi dates are staple diet, and are also exported. Common meals in Iraq include rice, lamb, chicken and locally grown vegetables like cucumbers, onions and tomatoes.
Under the occupation, Iraqis are getting much of their food from companies in Australia and other countries who assisted the United States during the invasion and occupation. This food has often been of low quality.
During July 2006 the Iraqi Ministry of Trade rejected or destroyed thousands of tonnes of contaminated food or food past its expiry date. The food had caused widespread poisoning.
So Australia hasn’t only illegally invaded Iraq, it’s also provided suspect food. The gift that keeps on giving to the Iraqi people.