Jobs for Iraqis
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Back in September I interviewed Hajim al-Hasani, a member of the Iraq Parliament, and at one point I asked him whether he thought people joined militias because of religious fervor or economic reasons, and he responded:

I think a very small percentage of these people became militia because of religious beliefs. Most of them I think became militia because of the economic situation in Iraq. We've got 60 percent unemployment in Iraq…So when somebody comes and says "I'm going to pay you $200 a month to be part of the militia," and you don't have a penny to spend on your family, I think everybody will accept that. And that's what's happening. This large number of people who are recruited in the militias basically are recruited because of the economic situation.

Now, the Pentagon has decided to reopen factories in Iraq as part of a plan to employ tens of thousands of Iraqis over the next few months. According to the Washington Post story, the hope is that the military will be able to spend $1 billion buying products from Iraqi factories that has been previously spent buying from companies in Kuwait and Jordan. Also, it's attempting to recruit companies such as Caterpillar and Dow Chemical to place orders from these Iraqi factories. So, hopefully, this doesn't end up as some typical subsidy program where factories are producing cement, tile, rubber and textiles that nobody needs.

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