Former employees of Iraq’s Military Industry Commission have also protested the nonpayment of wages. The commission, dissolved after the 2003 US invasion, manufactured weapons and machinery for the Iraqi army. Workers in Karbala also demonstrated Feb. 1, protesting their lack of payment. These workers had been assigned to various government industrial projects following the dissolution of the Military Industry Commission.
Kahtan Kaeal al-Sultani, senior engineer at Al-Fao General Engineering Company, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Construction and Housing, told Al-Monitor, “Many self-funded factories in Iraq became unprofitable. They were no longer producing and could not even pay the salaries of their employees and workers.”
Kaeal Sultani attributed this to “the old machinery and equipment, and the fact that it was not updated. This led to the collapse of production in many plants.”
Kaeal Sultani also said that Iraq’s industrial production has been disrupted due to political reasons. “Some influential politicians own import companies, and it is not in their interest to support the industrial sector in Iraq,” he said. “In addition, neighboring countries, such as Iran, Turkey and Jordan, seek to keep Iraq underdeveloped in order for it to remain a market for their goods.”
Al Sumaria News published a July 2013 report stating that, among the reasons for the collapse of factories in Iraq post-2003, was the looting of factories and plants by local gangs.