Speaking at an economic forum in Baghdad today, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cautioned that the massive number of security forces on their payroll were straining the government’s budget and preventing reconstruction projects.
Maliki hinted that it was his preference to cut back on security forces so as to pay for more economic projects, likely an important attempt to bolster his popularity ahead of elections.
The vast majority of the Iraqi government’s revenues come from oil exports, and the drop in the price of oil from its nearly $150 a barrel highs haas done serious damage to the nation’s budget.
US General Frank Helmick cautioned only last week that the “low” price of oil (dramatically higher than when the US invaded, it should be noted), could pose a threat to the US pullout, and it seems quite apparent that this is the case, as if the Iraqi government’s security forces stand down in the face of rising expenses the US will almost certainly be asked to stand back up.
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