US firms vie to rebuild Iraq
Five companies have been invited to bid for
contracts to put Iraq's infrastructure back together after a decade of
sanctions and the expected US-led war.
US firms are lining up to repair bridges and roads
Among the five is a subsidiary of Halliburton, the oil
and construction giant run by US Vice President Dick Cheney for five
years till 2000.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) told
the AFP news agency that the five were part of a "limited selection
process" intended to speed up contracting given the "urgent nature or
the unique nature of the work".
Reports in the Wall Street Journal suggested the contracts could be worth as much as $900m.
The deal on offer grows out of a 13-page document,
"Vision for Post-Conflict Iraq", circulated to the five companies and
to a small group of White House insiders, the Wall Street Journal
All five firms shortlisted have long experience with infrastructure projects in the Middle East.
Aside from Halliburton unit Kellogg Brown and Root, they
include Bechtel, Fluor, Louis Berger and Parsons. All five are US-owned
Kellogg Brown and Root has already landed a Defense
Department contract to extinguish any oilwells set alight by retreating
As well as the infrastructure deal, the Wall Street
Journal said that contracts to run ports, airports, healthcare, schools
and power and water were on offer.