Thursday, March 15, 2007

U.S. official: Israeli investors should pump money into Iraq

Israeli Training Kurds in Iraq

"DUBAI - A U.S. defense official on Thursday encouraged Israelis to pump investments into the devastated Iraqi economy. Paul Brinkley, U.S. deputy undersecretary of defense for business transformation, told a business conference here that Israelis and any other investors were welcome in a country crying out for investment "Israeli business people, any business people, we would encourage them to come," said Brinkley, speaking on the sidelines of a conference aimed at spurring investment into Iraq's northern Kurdish-ruled region. Brinkley leads the task force charged with reinvigorating Iraqi industry.

"If they find business opportunities, as I think they will, we encourage them to reach out and engage their Iraqi business partners," he said.

Israel is believed to maintain discreet ties to Kurdish groups, including those in Iraq, although Kurdish officials in the country deny such links.

Earlier this month, Brinkley said he organized a business networking mission last month in which the U.S. Army airlifted 43 international businesspeople around the country in Black Hawk helicopters to meet Iraqi business leaders.

The aim of the visit was to provide expertise to the Iraqi government to revive state-run factories and other enterprises to put more Iraqis back to work, a move the U.S. military believes would help calm the violence....."

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