Created: 9/29/1989

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IRAQ: Reducing Foreign Labor Force


Baghdad, which claimed Wednesday to bc preparingemobilize five divisions by mid-October, is trying to reduce the number of foreign workers in Iraq in order to prepare fjr large-scale demobilization and to conserve hard currency. The US Embassy reports that next month Iraq will sharply reduce the amounts most foreign workers can convert to hard currency and remit. Earlier this year. Baghdad banned Egyptians from operating produce stands and prohibited workers from converting Iheir earnings locally. The Embassyore Egyptians are leaving than entering Iraq daily. The five divisions io be0ercent of lrao's current fore

Comment: Although ^'cviously announced demobilizations have resulted only in the shifting of units to Border Guard or internal security duties, Iraq probably wants to free some of the jobs ofillion foreign workers for soldiers. Baghdad also wants to save hard currency for development projects and imports; annual remittances will be halved to about SI billion even if most workers remain. Many Egyptians probably will stay in Iraq because of poor opportunities at home. Baghdad's actions are likely to increase friction with members of the Arab Cooperation Council, which seeks opportunities in Iraq for its workers.r

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