Corporate Carve Up: UK Companies In Iraq : Iraq wasn’t sold in a day

How UK government and industry groups facilitate the corporate occupation.

The entry of UK companies into Iraq has been based on links established with the US-led invasion and occupation forces. The Coalition Provisional Authority itself included UK government figures, such as the UK special representative for Iraq, who sat on the ‘programme review board’, which made decisions on project spending.[1] During December 23-30, in the absence of Paul Bremer and his deputy from Iraq, the UK representative was acting head of the CPA.[2]

UK companies have benefitted from close and frequent contact with both US, UK and CPA officials and later with Iraqi government ministers. This access has been maintained by the efforts of both private and public organisations. The UK Trade and Investment department (UKTI), formerly UK Trade Partners, established an Iraq unit, later divided into working groups in the areas of education, healthcare, oil&gas, power, water and telecomms (August 2003)[3]. The UK government also appointed a special representative for Iraqi reconstruction (Brian Wilson, MP for Cunninghame North)[4]. Private organisations are also eager to act as middle-men in this game. Two prominent partners for UKTI have been the British Consultants and Construction Bureau (BCCB) and the South East Exports Agency (SEEA).

One of the most significant organisations in the game of selling Iraq is the UK-based ‘Iraq Development Programme’ (IDP), also known under a series of other names, including ‘Iraq Procurement’, Windrush Comunications and Omega Marketing. This group boasts of being the ‘number one business summit for Iraq’.[5] They have held a number of conferences for corporations: in London; in Amman, the capital of Jordan; in Kuwait and in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. For more on the IDP/Windrush, see the February/March 2005 issue of Corporate Watch.[6]

Iraq Reconstruction Update, 15 July 2003, London

Organised by Middle East Economic Digest (MEED), New Civil Engineer magazine and Construction News. Speakers included Nick Griffiths, Deputy Head of Iraq Policy Unit (FCO); Gregor Lusty, Head of the Iraq Unit, Trade partners UK (now UKTI); Kevin Stovell, Managing Director Mott Macdonald; and Gary Wood, Director of The Risk Advisory Group.[7]
Iraq Industry Conference, 21 November 2003, London

Organised by UKTI. The CPA explained their procurement strategies and the setting up of the new project management office.[8]
Iraq – a nation to be rebuilt, December 9-11 2003, Amman, Jordan[9]

Organised by the Risk Advisory Group (see directory entry for ‘Janusian’) and the Middle East Association, which promotes trade between the UK and the middle east and north Africa.[10] It was also sponsored by the UKTI, the confederation of British industry (CBI) and the British Consultants and Contractor (BCCB).[11]

Rebuild Iraq 2004, January 19-23 2004, Kuwait

The South of England Export Association (SEEA) was appointed by UKTI to lead a subsidised trade mission.[12] Brian Wilson attended as the UK government representative.[13] Around 100 British companies attended, as did CPA officials. ‘UK Trade & Investment considers this an excellent opportunity for UK companies to meet like companies and organisations and meet key decision makers involved in the redevelopment of Iraq’.[14]
Iraq: Trading & Investing, 20 February 2004, London (DTI)

Organised by UKTI ‘to provide firms seeking to do business in Iraq with practical advice on trading and investing in the market, covering areas such as the legal framework in Iraq, security, the finance and banking infrastructure, the business environment and how to identify potential business partners in Iraq’; but did not cover reconstruction contracts; ‘speakers will include Mike O’Brien MP, Minister for Trade & Investment, Maurice Collis, of HRD International, who runs the Business Facilitation Centre in Umm Qasr, and Matthew Kirk, First Secretary Commercial in the British Trade and Reconstruction Office, Baghdad.'[15]
Private Sector Development Conference, 24 February, 2004, London (DTI)

Organised by UKTI. Dr Alawi, Iraqi Minister for Trade, spoke on the historical and legal context. Tom Foley, CPA Director of Private Sector Development (‘senior official responsible for economic reform and foreign investment in Iraq’) covered ‘construction, agriculture, consumer goods, healthcare, petrochemicals, retailing, telecommunications, franchising and subcontracting for supplemental fund expenditure’, but not winning USAID contracts.[16]
Seminar on Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), 26 March 2004, London, (DTI)

Organised by UKTI specifically to teach UK companies about applying to the Iraq project management office (PMO) for subcontracts; ‘During this seminar Senior Department of Defense personnel will explain FAR regulations which affect PMO sub-contractual opportunities, and will be available for guidance and answering questions.'[17] The line up featured Mike O’Brien, Minister for Trade and Investment and Admiral Nash (Retired), Director of the CPA Program Management Office, plus a speaker from Amec[18] and Parsons Brinkerhoff.[19]
Iraq Procurement 2004 – ‘Meet the Buyers’, 26-28 April 2004, London

Organised by The Iraq Development Programme (IDP). A major conference featuring over 200 companies and with presentations from Iraqi ministries (including agriculture, communications, construction and housing, electricity, health, interiors, science and technology, trade, transport and water resources) and the Governor of Basra. There was also representation from the Central Bank of Iraq and the Iraqi Board of Tourism. Brian Wilson and Larry Crandall, director of USAID, spoke, plus Joseph V. Schwan of the US Department of Commerce. Businesses there included JP Morgan Treasury Service and Control Risks Group.[20]
Fluor AMEC Subcontracting Conference, 5th May 2004, London

Organised by UKTI and AMEC; focused on sharing the expertise of AMEC in getting USAID subcontracts. Speakers included Bill Henderson, Director, International Trade Development Group; Brian Wilson, UK special representative for Iraq reconstruction; Ian Thomas, Business Development Director, AMEC; and David Herman, Business Development Director, FluorAMEC LLC.
Iraq-Kurdistan Trade, 4 June, 2004, London (DTI)

Organised by the UKTI and the Kurdish Development Corporation, this ‘forum on doing business in the stable region of Northern Iraq’ was designed to showcase the Kurdish north, and its UK-friendly political elite. To underline this, the Prime Minister of the Kurdish Regional Government, Nechivan Barzani, opened the event.[21] UK companies such as Inclarity and B-Plan Information Systems are heavily involved in this region (see Directory).
British Consultants and Construction Bureau meeting, 22 July 2004, London

Speakers included: David Raines, formerly head of one of the six CPA reconstruction sectors (public buildings, health, education); Andy Bearpark (now head of the British Association of Private Security Companies); Michael Gillibrand, formerly at the Iraqi Minister of Industry and Minerals, working on private sector development; Dr Khodeir Abbas, formerly Minister of Health.[22]
Iraq Oil & Gas, 21-22 August 2004, Amman, Jordan

A’special meeting involving senior figures from the Iraqi oil industry and major global corporations operating within the sector’. Organised by the IDP and Petra Travel & Tourism.[23]
Working with the UN and World Bank in Iraq 4 November 2004, London (DTI)

Organised by the UKTI and BCCB to provide ‘detailed insights into UN and World Bank plans for Iraq over the next 6 –12 months’ and ‘effective bidding in aid-funded business’. Speakers included the Executive Co-ordinator of the UN Iraq Trust Fund and staff from Crown Agents; British Embassy, Baghdad; and UK companies presently deployed in Iraq.[24]
Iraq Procurement 2004, 22-24 November 2004, Amman, Jordan

Organised by the IDP and sponsored by companies including Shell, Volvo, Statoil, Pfizer, Raytheon and Microsoft.[25] The SEEA led a UKTI-supported British trade delegation under the name ‘About Iraq’. The delegation’s itinery included a briefing from UKTI and the British embassy, ‘lunch with a multinationl’ and an ambassador’s reception in the evening. Each delegate received a UKTI travel subsidy of £400.[26] Speakers from the Iraqi Minister of Electricity and the Kurdish regional govermment, plus the chairman of the Iraqi-British Business Council.[27]
Rebuild Iraq 2005, 4-7 April 2005, Amman, Jordan

UK delegation led by SEEA and UKTI; 50 stalls reserved for UK forms in the main hall. Each delegate received a UKTI travel subsidy of £400.[28]
Iraqi Petroleum Conference 2005, 29-30 June 2005, London

Organised by Entrac Petroleum, and sponsored by companies including BP, Addax Petroleum, the Middle East Monitor and the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce. Speakers included experts from Shell, Statoil (Norway), and senior experts and managers from the Iraqi Oil Ministry. The conference fee was £1199.[29]
Iraq Development Program summit, Amman, 28-30 June 2005

Organised by the IDP. Sponsors included Erinys, Bayer Health Care, DHL and Royal Jordanian Airlines. Speakers included the acting Jordanian Minister of Industry and Trade; John Glassey, Director, Iraq Development Program; Iraqi Minster of Water Resources; Minister of Communications and the Iraqi Minister of Education.[30]
Iraq Mobile Telecommunications Conference, London, 21-22 July 2005

Organised by IDP, with the Iraq National Communications & Media Commission (NCMC) and with the support of the Iraqi Ministry of Communications. Speakers included the head of the NCMC, and the CEOs of the companies that held the Iraqi telecomms contracts from 2003-05: Orascom Telecom, Atheer Telecom and AsiaCell. There was also a presentation from Robert Paterson of PriceWaterhouseCoopers on licensing process.[31]
Iraq Security, Technology & Communications Summit, 16-17 January 2006 Abu Dhabi, UAE

Organised by the IDP and sponsored by companies including Aegis, Janusian, Control Risks, ArmorGroup and Land Rover. Iraq ministers scheduled to attend included those of Defence, of Science & Technology, of Communications and of the Interior.[32]

References [1] ‘TRADE PARTNERS UK IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION NEWSLETTER NO 1, 1 August 2003’, Freedom of Information request, 16/11/05

[2] ‘Iraq’, Parliamentary Debates, 09/03/05,


[4] IDP report


[6] ‘Windrush Communications: delivering Iraq to the corporations’,

[7] ‘Iraq Reconstruction update’,

[8] ‘UKTI Iraq Unit Bulletin – CPA PMO Office RFP’, 28/11/03



[11] UKTI

[12] ‘BRITISH TRADE MISSION TO KUWAIT RE: “REBUILD IRAQ” JANUARY 19th TO 23rd 2004Description of Opportunity’ 04/12/03, FoI request, 16/11/05

[13] ‘Trade representative to lead on Iraq contracts’,

[14] ‘BRITISH TRADE MISSION TO KUWAIT RE: “REBUILD IRAQ” JANUARY 19th TO 23rd 2004Description of Opportunity’ 04/12/03, FoI request, 16/11/05

[15] ‘Iraq: Trade & Investment Conference’, 29/01/04, UKTI, FOI request, 16/11/05

[16] ‘Tom Foley: 24 February 2004’, UKTI, 13/02/04, FOI request, 16/11/05

[17] ‘Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) explained for PMO sub-contractual opportunities 26 March 2004’, UKTI, 15/03/04, FoI request, 16/11/05

[18] Iraq bulletin, 18/03/04, UKTI, FOI request, 16/11/05

[19] ‘Transcript: Federal Acquisition Regulations Explained for PMO Subcontractual Opportunities 26 March 2004’

[20] Iraq Development Programme report,

[21] Iraq bulletin, 07/05/04, UKTI, FOI request 16/11/05

[22] ‘Iraq Unit Bulletin Friday 16 July 2004’, UKTI, FOI request, 16/11/05

[23] IDP report,

[24] ‘Iraq Unit Bulletin Friday 22 October 2004’, UKTI, FOI request 16/11/05

[25] IDP report,

[26] Iraq bulletin, 28/09/04, UKTI, FOI request 16/11/05

[27] IDP report,

[28] Iraq bulletin, 27/10/04, UKTI, FOI request 16/11/05

[29] ‘Iraqi Petroleum Conference Programme’, Entrac,

[30] IDP report,

[31] IDP report,

[32] Iraq Development Programme,