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Peace Movement Aotearoa

PO Box 9314, Wellington. Tel (04) 382 8129, fax (04) 382 8173,

Issued 23 March 1999

Iraq's total GDP has fallen to just $5.7 billion, or $247 per capita, according to estimates by the well-respected Economist Intelligence Unit in The Economist's newly published annual supplement "The World in 1999."

Just prior to the Gulf War, Iraq's GDP was more than ten times higher--around $60 billion.

Last year the Economist Intelligence Unit estimated Iraqi GDP at $30.4 billion, or $1,300 per capita. This year's figure represents both a further precipitous decline, and more accurate estimates.

To put this in perspective, Jordan, Iraq's tiny neighbor has a GDP of $8.6 billion.

With an estimated per capita GDP of only $247, Iraq, once one of the most developed countries in the Middle East, is now poorer than many countries in sub-saharan Africa.

Just this evening I had the opportunity to attend a talk by former UN humanitarian relief coordinator for Iraq, Denis Halliday. Halliday noted that Iraq's recurring annual budget needs for health, food and essential services, is $12-15 billion. With the Oil-for-Food program, which Halliday ran for thirteen months, Iraq gets barely $4 billion.

With a total GDP of $5.7 billion Iraq's economy is worth about the same as four B-1 bombers. It is worth about half of Bill Gates.

The entire Iraqi economy amounts to just 2% (two percent) of the annual United States DEFENSE budget of $265 billion.

The increase in the US defense budget proposed for next year by the Clinton Administration ($12 billion) is more than twice the entire GDP of Iraq.

Just exactly what kind of threat can Iraq present? You do the math.

Ali Abunimah

For further information, please see Stop killing the people of Iraq

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