“A Homeland Security Customs Enforcement Department top-secret audit of contracting in Iraq is beginning to reveal a level of corruption and fraud that is crippling both reconstruction and self defense efforts. Water and electricity supplies are at lower levels than one year ago, while the lines at gas stations have become longer. A weapons procurement of more than $5 billion for the Ministries of Defense and Interior under interim Prime Minister Iayd Allawi has reportedly completely disappeared, while a $300 million purchase of 24 military helicopters from Poland bought obsolete aircraft, many of which had already been stripped for parts. Work has never started on hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure-improvement contracts given to military cronies. Several deputy ministers who balked at signing multimillion-dollar fictitious contracts have been fired and replaced by more amenable appointees. Meanwhile, the disproportionate number of Kurds in the Defense Ministry is diverting funds and equipment to peshmerga militia units preparing to seize Kirkuk. On the other side of the Green Zone, the Interior ministry’s police commandos provide cover for anti-Sunni hit teams from the Iranian-supported Badr Brigade and from rogue Shi’ite radical Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army. The Potemkin-villiage Baghdad government is increasingly irrelevant to the future of Iraq.”
More on the helicopters here.