The Keystone Cops meet Machiavelli – How Republicans support Hezbollah

This is your government high on small government Conservatism, Firm blamed for Baghdad embassy flaws gains new jobs

The Kuwaiti contractor that’s building the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad — behind schedule and plagued by allegations of shoddy construction and safety flaws — is still winning lucrative new contracts to build U.S. diplomatic installations overseas.

Late last month, First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Co. was part of a team that won a $122 million State Department contract to build a U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, according to contract documents.

That’s one of at least three State Department jobs, in addition to the Baghdad project, that First Kuwaiti won in association with a U.S. firm, Grunley Walsh LLC of Rockville, Md.

Since 2006, by operating as a subcontractor to Grunley Walsh, First Kuwaiti has won contracts for work on a new U.S. Embassy in Libreville, Gabon; on a consulate in Surabaya, Indonesia; and on the Jeddah project.

Such partnerships are increasingly common as foreign companies try to win shares of embassy construction contracts that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year under the State Department’s aggressive building program. Under a 1986 law, only U.S. firms can bid on embassy construction.

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.

So class, where does Hezbollah, a group that many Republicans and Democrats condemn as a militant organization if not outright terrorists. That’s right Republicans support Hezbollah. If you were under the impression that Congress made it so foreign companies could no longer get the bulk of any contract for building American projects such as embassies. We all know how clever Republicans can be about bending, twisting, and skirting the law. The partnership of foreign companies with American contractors has become the new kool-kids trend. Just Business: Buying a US Embassy Contractor

According to documents: Robert Farah, Paul Jureidini and Robert K. Kelly are the key players to taking control of Grunley Walsh International, which recently won over $200 million in new State Department contracts for embassy and consulate contruction in Saudi Arabia, Gabon and Indonesia. The Baghdad embassy contractor, First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting is the prime subcontractor to the three new contracts.

There have been so many Republicans in Congress, the administration and the private sector involved in corrupt, and/or unethical dealings the last decade that the names have probably become a blur at this point. Farah started cozying up to Republicans with a $25,000 to the Republican National Committee. Maybe a coincidence or maybe not, but soon after Grunley scored some prime subcontracting work with First Kuwaiti. This isn’t close to comparable to the Senator Clinton and Norman Hsu dust up where there was nothing that even hinted at pay for play. Jureidini was a protege of former campaign foreign policy advisor to George W. Bush, Richard Armitage. Kelly works for a U.S. firm called Audreac and Associates, but was an adviser to the U.K. public relations company Bell Pottinger USA in Washington, DC. which was awarded $5.8 million and four-month contract from the Bushies to sell the Iraqi people on the neocon vision of democracy.

Some advertising experts said they were wary about the idea of using television spots to push political change and encourage the growth of democracy.

Learning about democracy through advertising could make it seem like a product that should be blamed or abandoned if things do not go well, said Harry C. Boyte, senior fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

There might be a temptation for some to see all of this as some nefarious conspiracy. As yet anyway there isn’t much evidence to support that. It is more like Republican reality TV. Conservatives once again placing a higher value on monetary gain then ethics, caught in the act of being what and who they really are. The Keystone Cops meets Machiavelli.