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Baghdad Embassy Contractor Wins More US Contracts | The Rough Cut

by David Phinney
Saturday June 24th 2017

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Baghdad Embassy Contractor Wins More US Contracts

by David Phinney

Oct. 24, 2007 — Despite allegations of poor construction, lousy and abusive labor practices and missed deadlines for completion, the Kuwaiti contractor building the new $592-million-and-counting US Embassy in Baghdad has been quietly bagging new lucrative contracts to build US diplomatic compounds around the world.

In September, First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Co., won a $122-million State Department contract to build a U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, McClatchy reporter Warren P. Strobel has confirmed. Additionally, First Kuwaiti has won US embassy and consulate work over the past 13 months in Libreville, Gabon and a consulate in Surabaya, Indonesia.

Total Amount of Contracts: Well over $200 million.

First Kuwaiti has only been able to win more US State Department embassy work because it partnered with the US firm, Grunley Walsh LLC of Rockville, Md. Apparently, First Kuwaiti wields a hefty influence over management of Grunley Walsh’s international operations.

Why? Because US law requires that only U.S. firms can bid on embassy construction as the prime contractor.

Strobel notes:

But industry analysts said that First Kuwaiti appears to be the financial muscle behind the partnership with Grunley Walsh. Lebanese businessman Wadih al Absi founded the company in 1996. News reports and Middle East experts say that Absi is a supporter of Lebanese Christian politician Michel Aoun, an ally of Syria and the Iranian-backed Islamic militant group Hezbollah.

Last year, First Kuwaiti’s Washington representative, Robert Farah, began negotiations to buy Grunley Walsh. Farah told me recently that the negotiations were ongoing, but one State Department source believe that Farah and two other unnamed partners were successful in the purchase.

Here’s Strobel’s story.
Here’s mine.

Most Amusing: First Kuwaiti has hired the public relations firm, Saylor Company, according to Strobel. The firm claims to specialize in “crisis” public relations and ” is known for handling high stakes communications.”

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2 Responses to “Baghdad Embassy Contractor Wins More US Contracts”

  1. Anuj says:

    Damaging a church or a mouqse is nothing compared to the massacres the Americans do against the civilians of Iraq and Afganistan who kills a guiltless soul as if he kills the whole world as stated in the Quran and the Americans have been killing millions . no wonder, they are well trained in killing after they annihilated the native American tribes killing is the Americans’ Habitude since their first ancestors started the killing of some 80 million Ameriican Indians . butthe Muslims are not Indian tribes, and Afganistan is the start of the end of the American dream It is a mud that they will not get out of but defeated !!

  2. Nell says:

    Your reports on Farah are remarkable. I hope you begin to get more credit for your role in pursuing the endlessly seamy story of privatizaton in Iraq. The extent to which this administration is willing to shovel money to its friends abroad staggers the imagination, even someone as ready to suspect them as I am.
    Farah’s political role in Lebanon turns my mind immediately to the recent stir created in Lebanon by a story that the U.S. is openly urging the complete reorientation of Lebanon’s military alliances, along with the construction of several U.S. bases there. The ambassador denied it, but Eric Edelman cheerfully confirmed it.
    The planned embassy that got quashed due to the dangerous location — wonder if that was another base-in-all-but-name?

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