But Anham turns out to be that same firm with a twist – it has backing from companies with ties to Marvin Bush, President George W. Bush’s brother.
ANHAM’s predecessor is Nour USA, founded in 2003 by Chalabi’s friend A. Huda Farouki. In 2004, Nour won a huge, critical contract to provide Iraq’s armed forces with necessary equipment – everything from compasses to trucks. (The U.S. military could have done the same job without the added expense of privatization, but the Administration created the contract anyway.)
Nour USA won the contract with a suspiciously low bid – $327 million. Several experts said that the equipment would cost $500 million, before adding the costs of transporting it. And Nour, a fledgling firm with no real military procurement experience, beat out military contracting giants like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
It did so partly with the help of William Cohen, the former Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton. His firm, The Cohen Group, formed an Iraq Task Force to win Iraq rebuilding contracts for clients. Nour was one of its first beneficiaries, winning an $80 million contract to protect Iraq’s oil fields from sabotage. Since then, several audits have found that efforts to secure Iraq’s oil fields have largely failed. Insurgent attacks on the industry in 2006 cost $8 million a day.
After vociferous protests by more established military contractors, the Pentagon canceled Nour’s contract and opened the bidding again.
Anham emerged the victor from that round, bidding even lower — $259 million, still far below what many say would be needed. It was headed by Farouki, but boasted partnerships with several other companies, including three firms backed by Marvin Bush’s investment firm, Winston Partners. According to blogger Margie Burns, the firms have even less military experience than Nour; they are Hobart West, a personnel-services company; LogoTel, a clothing company; and Axolotl, a medical computer-services company.
Because the Pentagon canceled Nour’s contract and re-bid it, delays piled up in sending equipment to the Iraqi military. Later audits found the entire procurement system rife with fraud, with $2 billion missing and much of the equipment substandard.
Anham kept the procurement contract, and went on to win others, including a $10 million project to build a vocational school in Afghanistan and a $16 million project to create a records database for the Iraqi National Police.
CategoriesDefense | Functionaries
- Profiteering at the Top: Bush Relatives Keep Cashing In With Military Contracts, Margie Burns, May 15, 2006: www.populist.com/04.7.burns.html
- Chalabi, the Pizza Guy, and the Arming of Iraq, Huffington Post, September 5, 2006: www.huffingtonpost.com/t-christian-miller/chalabi-the-pizza-guy-an_b _28758.html
- IRAQ: Evidence of Fraud Found by Iraq Audit, Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2006: www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=13537
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