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Recasting the Iraqi Bureaucracy in the US Image: The Case of the Ministry of Oil

PAM, Vol. 9 No. 1, (2004)

For a variety of reasons, the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime has ushered in a new
era in the management of Iraq’s most important ministry. Needless to say, the temptation to
introduce advanced management techniques and practices similar to those in operation in the
US requires greater deliberation than is publicly admitted. This article probes and assesses
the empirical context of the US administrative control of Iraq’s Ministry of Oil. Additionally, a
series of implications that might guide future empirical investigations and help managers
strengthen administrative capacity are put forward. The article is structured around four
major topics: (1) An overview of the Iraqi state, (2) Strategic and critical tasks in the Ministry
of Oil, (3) the Bush administration’s oversight, and (4)Possible pitfalls to be avoided. The
authors conclude that progress toward building Iraqi bureaucratic capacity is more likely to
be attained if the new administrators are careful to avoid time tested mistakes.

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