Arbitration of International Investment Disputes (Iraq)


Iraq has in the past experienced a poor economic performance because of the US-led invasion in 2003. Before the US-led invasion, Iraq’s economy was fairly stable and run by a central government, but the most prominent feature of the Iraq economy was its strict prohibition of foreign business ownership of Iraq’s companies. Generally, the Iraqi government did not favor international investments because its local companies were majorly state-owned, and to safeguard the domestication of the Iraqi economy, heavy tariffs and penalties were imposed on foreign goods. After the US-led invasion, Iraq has witnessed a turn of events because the interim government issued several binding contracts to privatize its local enterprises – a move which opened the Iraqi economy to foreign investments. Economic reforms were not the only kind of reforms being undertaken in the Middle Eastern nation; it was affirmed that, for the country to sufficiently sustain its international investments, it had to reform its legislative laws and government institutions to attract more international investments.

So far, Iraq’s transition in commercial and civil laws have greatly transformed the business environment and completely liberalized its economy, foreign investments and business operations in the same regard. New investment laws in Iraq are therefore predicted to make a big change in the way arbitration is undertaken; in addition to improving the economic development of the country (through investment capital that will come into the country as well as foreign experience; both of which will ultimately lead to the growth of the country’s infrastructure and economy). These new legislations will also help meet the needs of the country, which entail the lack of investment capital to be used for reconstruction and development.

There is therefore a significant progress made by Iraq in the reconstruction of its economy, and at the centre of the entire process is the attraction of foreign investments into the Middle Eastern Nation. So far, investors have shown considerable interest in the country, as is evidenced by the influx of Chinese investors in the past few years. In fact, recent statistics show that, the number of foreign investments has doubled in the year 2010 as investors troop into the Middle Eastern country to cash-in on the investment opportunities arising as a result of the stability being experienced in Iraq now.

The Iraqi government is at the forefront in spearheading reconstruction efforts in Iraq, but support is also being given by other Investment partners such as the US, through the US chamber of commerce, which is also channeling its funds towards improving reconstruction efforts in Iraq. These reconstruction efforts are part of the reason why international investors are trooping into Iraq because it is estimated that, Iraq’s reconstruction efforts is going to cost about 25 billion US dollars and international companies are trooping into Iraq to get a share of the finance. The nature of Iraq’s economy and its national expertise does not allow it to solely undertake the reconstruction efforts and therefore, the country has also embarked on efforts to strike deals with international investors to help in the reconstruction efforts.

Iraq’s commitment to increasing international investments is therefore undisputed and this trend can be affirmed from the country’s ascension along the ranks of the World trade organization (WTO). The country has also ratified several investment laws which were initially repugnant to international investments in Iraq, such as the 2006 investment law. Alongside these reforms are the repealing of several legislations which also inhibited international investments. Moreover, the National and Provincial Investment Commission has been created to streamline investment activities in Iraq (a development which was never witnessed in Iraq before). Iraq is therefore integrating itself into the world business forum, but it is impossible for it to succeed in this regard if it does not forge strategic relationships with its partners. Particularly, it is essential for the country to forge strategic bilateral and multilateral investments (besides crafting formidable international investment agreements), but most importantly, the country should streamline its international dispute resolution mechanisms and understand how international arbitration mechanisms work. The Egyptian General Authority for Investment reiterates that “With the proliferation of international investment agreements (IIAs) and the increase in investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases, the Iraqi government needs to build its awareness and capacity on these issues”.

Nonetheless, since Iraq is a Muslim state and guided by Islamic principles, investors have expressed concern over the feasibility of investing their money in Iraq and expecting good returns as a result. This concern has been registered because in the recent past, the ongoing reconstruction efforts in Iraq have yielded both positive and negative results. Some of the negative results envisioned in the state include insecurity, corruption, insufficient funding, poor coordination by international friends of Iraq and the partial collaboration of international investors and the local communities living in Iraq.

Nonetheless, despite these shortcomings, it is important to note that, the progress in international investments has significantly increased in Iraq and expressly, they outweigh the shortcomings evidenced in the reconstruction efforts. For example, the Coalition Provisional Authority which is mandated to spearhead the reconstruction efforts in Iraq has significantly increased international investments opportunities in Iraq by changing Iraq’s tax laws to provide more repatriation to Iraq’s investors. For instance, Paul Beemer, the chief executive officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority has supported the reduction of the corporate tax rate in Iraq from an overwhelming 45% to a paltry 15%.

Some observers note that these changes are justified because previous existing laws were repugnant to justice; in that, they hindered foreign nationals (except Arabs) from investing in Iraq, either directly (in shares, equities bonds, and the likes) or indirectly (in terms of partial or complete ownership of local firms). Some of the few common changes in the law are like the repealing of order no. 21 of 1997 which has been recently changed to allow foreign nationals to invest (either directly or indirectly) in Iraq’s equities bonds and shares, or to totally or partially own Iraqi firms. Banking and insurance laws have also been changed to allow foreign nationals to trade in the banking and insurance sectors. Such changes in legislation have been coupled with many others.

Most of the country’s companies are also up for privatization but investors are keener on the privatization of Iraq’s oil industry, which is worth billions of US dollars. These privatization efforts are the main platform for the increase in international investments because it provides an opportunity for international investors to import their expertise into Iraq by wholly or partially owning Iraq’s companies. Moreover, the privatization of Iraq’s state-owned enterprises is likely to increase the competitiveness of Iraq’s economy and significantly increase the efficiency of some of Iraq’s companies.

The privatization of several state-owned companies in Iraq is safely protected by Iraq’s new legislations and more so, orders 39, which provides the framework for the privatization of most state-owned enterprises in Iraq, except for a few enterprises of significant importance to the people of Iraq. Already, the oil industry, as mentioned earlier in this study, is an attractive zone of investment in Iraq with significant interests being expressed by several international oil companies such as British Petroleum (BP), Shell, Exxon, and the likes. CPA order 39 further guarantees the right of international investors and rates them at par with the rights, privileges, and obligations of local investors in Iraq. In particular, CPA 39, which governs international investments in Iraq, states that “A foreign investor shall be entitled to make foreign investments in Iraq on terms, no less favorable than those applicable to an Iraqi investor”. Moreover, the same clause eliminates the limitation in foreign ownership of international investors on Iraqi firms because it provides no limit to the extent foreign investors can own existing or new companies in Iraq. Furthermore, unlike previous legislation, CPA 39 guarantees the safeguard of profits exported to foreign countries (but made in Iraq).

Through such legislative safeguards, Iraq is finally open to international investments without any limitations, with regards to foreign ownership of Iraqi firms and the expatriation of profits made in Iraq to other countries. These legislations are slowly gaining the shape of international investments laws which allow for the freedom of international investors in international investment activities. For example, the new Iraqi legislation on foreign investments is in accord with international investment laws which stipulate that in international investment laws, where Iraq is a party to, any benefits and privileges guaranteed by the international investment laws, and which are not shared by Iraq’s legislative laws shall prevail over Iraq’s domestic laws. Though there is an ongoing debate regarding the legitimacy of such laws, experts have noted that the repealing of Iraq’s laws for foreign investments, though not done by a freely elected government, is democratic and elevates Iraq’s investment laws to international standards.

There are also more legislative reforms made by the Iraqi government, meant to guarantee the rights of foreign investors in Iraq, such as order no. 17 which exempts all foreign investors in Iraq from Iraqi court processes. CPA order 12 also amended Iraq’s legislative procedures which pit local businessmen above foreign investors because currently, foreign investors operate at the same level playing field as local investors. Nonetheless, on an interim basis, the Iraqi government has imposed a reconstruction levy on foreign investors to raise more funds for the reconstruction of the Iraqi economy.

The new international investment climate in Iraq has had positive effects on Iraq’s economy and specifically, on its people. For instance, the country’s gross domestic product has significantly increased in recent years as a result of the lifting of trade sanctions by western regimes on the Saddam Hussein government. For instance, from the oil peak witnessed in 1980, Iraq’s economy slowly shrunk to about 12.5% by the year 2000 (from 43%). As atof007, the country’s GDP has significantly increased to about 55 billion US dollars which are estimated to be a 17% annual GDP increase.

More positive results are being reported by western news agencies as evidenced from Newsweek international’s (London) assertion that:

“Civil war or not, Iraq has an economy, and—mother of all surprises—it’s doing remarkably well. Real estate is booming. Construction, retail and wholesale trade sectors are healthy, too, according to [the report]. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports 34,000 registered companies in Iraq, up from 8,000 three years ago. Sales of secondhand cars, televisions and mobile phones have all risen sharply. Estimates vary, but one from Global Insight puts GDP growth at 17 percent last year and projects 13 percent for 2006. The World Bank has it lower: at 4 percent this year. But, given all the attention paid to deteriorating security, the startling fact is that Iraq is growing at all”.

Moreover, the US government claims that a lot of corruption has been stumped from Iraq’s major industries and efficient managerial practices are quickly being adopted. For instance, the US government claims that millions of barrels of Iraq’s oil which was initially being smuggled or lost in corrupt dealings are no longer being tolerated in the Middle Eastern country. The optimism expressed by the US government on the Iraqi economy resonates throughout international circles as is evidenced from the emergence of a niche market of Iraq’s Dinar (Iraq’s currency) which international investors are faithfully holding on to, in the hope that, when Iraq’s economy finally stabilizes, they would make a lot of profit as a result.

However, regardless of the milestones covered by Iraq in opening up its economy to international investors, it is important to acknowledge that, critics of the liberalization of Iraqi’s economy note that, all the efforts directed at opening up Iraq’s economy have been crafted by western powers for their interest and not for the interest of the Iraqis. Moreover, they note that the legislative changes currently being instigated by the Iraqi government are illegitimate since the current government has not been democratically elected; it is still not free from western influence. Furthermore, these critics note that, it is illegitimate of any foreign power to rewrite the laws of another country, without the consent of its people. However, to counter these arguments, some experts have noted that, the previous legislative climate imposed by the Saddam regime was also illegitimate in the sense that, Saddam’s regime was not democratically elected to be in power. Also, several experts note that it is important to redraft the investment laws of Iraq to provide an opportunity for Iraqis to get over years of mismanagement and planned economies, which have been characteristic of the Middle Eastern country for decades.

Investment Arbitration as an International Phenomenon

With the world increasingly going global, many economies are experiencing a lot of influx of foreign investment than ever before. With this development, there is a resultant increase in international disputes between foreign companies (investors) and their host countries. More importantly, there is a strong need for the existence of an international investment arbitration framework to handle investment disputes if they arise. These is the criteria on which International investment arbitration thrives on in today’s global economy. Price water house Coopers affirms that “A clear dispute resolution policy is an important strategic asset when negotiating dispute resolution clauses for cross-border contracts and 65percentt of the online respondents said they maintained a policy”. Around the globe, many countries are normally bound by international investment treaties, such as the NAFTA treaty and the likes, which provide the guideline wfor hich international investment arbitration occurs.

Often, such agreements define the limitations of a given state when dealing with foreign investors, through the stipulations of international law. Such is the case evidenced in multilateral and bilateral agreements between (or among) states which are party to such international agreements. International investment arbitration has normally been carried out through the guidelines stipulated in the 1965 Washington convention which has outlined several laws that states and foreign investors ought to adhere to.

International investment arbitration is a worldwide phenomenon because investors across the globe are normally wary of the arbitration framework existing in different states as a prerequisite for international investment. In some cases, the lack of a meaningful international arbitration framework is one reason identified to impede the proliferation of international trade. This is true because before an investor decides to finance a business project in a foreign country, he or she is likely to be motivated by the existence of an international investment arbitration framework if a dispute arises with the host state. The lack of this framework is a limiting factor to the increase of international investments in this manner. Traditionally, foreign investors were known to seek diplomatic protection when they were faced with disputes with the host state. This however turned out not to be a very effective way of solving disputes; hence the proposal of an arbitration framework. In other words, it is practically impossible for a state to intervene in a business matter which even has the possibility of being a personal one.

Due to the need to protect foreign investments (despite the diplomatic hurdle), many states realized the need to join trade blocks. This is the reason why there are several trading blocs such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (AS,EAN) or the Energy Charter Treaty (ECI) because these trading blocs bind the conduct of countries, party to the treatie, when dealing with foreign investors or institutions operating within their territories. Such trade agreements, therefore, stipulate the minimum treatment a foreign investor coming from one of the participating countries needs to be accorded. Most importantly, these treaties provide a framework of dispute resolution between member states, which binds governments, institutions, and individuals alike. The probability that a competent international forum is being formed is therefore highly likely in this case because member states are likely to develop an arbitration framework that will be fair to all members and this implies developing a framework that fits international standards. In such a case, it is simple to undertake dispute resolution procedures, as is explained by Kovacs who notes, “The State will always be respondent and its actions vis-à-vis the investor will be judged according to general standards imposed by international law rather, than by reference to any national system of law”.

Different countries are therefore bound by different investment treaties and most of them often differ from each other. For instance, the laws of the Association of southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) differ from the laws governing the North American States, stipulated by the NAFTA treaty. Because of this difference, various studies have tried to focus on specific treaties binding various countries (while at the same time, analyzing the difference in those treaties).

The first bilateral investment treaty (BIT) was signed between West Germany and Pakistan, in the fifties, but since then, there has been a proliferation of investment treaties around the globe because countries have realized their importance in international trade and international dispute resolution. Kovacs reiterates that “there are currently over 2,500 BITs covering the overwhelming majority of States and offering investors a reliable international dispute resolution mechanism to enforce their rights under international investment law against recalcitrant Host States”.

The first International arbitration case to be heard under the bilateral investment treaty was heard in 1987 and since then, there has been an upsurge of international arbitration cases to be heard under the bilateral trade agreement. It is estimated that, currently, there are cases in excess of 270 to be heard under international investment arbitration. Though there are both positive and negative stories to report about international investment arbitration, it is important to note that, the field is still evolving and there still are many legal issues to be ironed out between parties subjected through the process.

From this analysis, we, therefore, see that, international investment arbitration is quickly becoming a part of global trade and this consensual binding method provides a framework where international investors can amicably solve their disputes, without having to be subjected to a country’s national courts, which are often tedious and bureaucratic. International investment arbitration can therefore stand out to be the most practical and efficient way of solving international disputes, provided the parties know the pitfalls associated with the method, and are provided with adequate tools to undertake the process.

International investment arbitration is not only an important tool in investment appraisal but also an effective tool of risk management, for many organizations, which decide to embrace it. For instance, sometimes, international investment arbitration, when wrongly used may be very expensive and eventually lead to a poor award which may fail to be enforced in the long run. However, organizations may free themselves of such risks if they properly use the arbitration mechanism to protect themselves against such risks. This is the reason why many international investors (over 70%) are known to prefer international arbitration investments as opposed to other types of dispute resolution mechanisms such as transnational litigation.

Price water house coopers notes that, international investment arbitration is popular among international investors because its advantages significantly outweigh its disadvantages. According to recent surveys among international investors, it was established that international investment arbitration was preferred because it is highly flexible when compared to other dispute resolution mechanisms. Other reasons cited for the preference of international investment are the privacy according to the process and the ease of enforcement of awards.

On the contrary, it was observed that international investment arbitration was expensive when compared to other investment disputes and conversely, it was also seen to consume a lot of time. For instance, it was established that, arbitration can be very expensive when compared to litigation, especially if the process is to be undertaken in certain legal jurisdictions which do not support international investment arbitration. It was also affirmed that, it is very difficult to join third parties in the arbitration contract and in the same regard; there was a small possibility that, in some jurisdictions, it is easy for the court to intervene in the arbitration process.

The demand for international investment arbitration is growing by the day and there are increased concerns among international investors of the ability of international investment arbitration frameworks to deal with this growing demand. Regardless of the strain on the system, recent research studies show that, there is an increased uptake of international investment arbitration across the globe. For example, in the research study done by Price water house coopers, it was established that

“Close to one-fifth (17 per cent) said international investment arbitration produced significant direct cost savings while a further 69 percent indicated that international investment arbitration helped minimize the escalation of disputes. There should be lessons in this for just over one third (35 per cent) of corporations without a policy”.

These statistics abound, the importance of international investment arbitration cannot be underestimated because foreign investors do not want to be subjected to the most obvious alternative dispute resolution mechanism, which is the litigation process, because they are not familiar with the foreign laws of a country. From quoted research statistics, it is affirmed that, 95% of companies dealing in international trade have a dispute resolution clause and over 60% of these companies rely on international investment disputes to solve their disputes. Many more prefer to be subjected through the framework, but certain inhibitions, such as costs, which are associated with the process, bar such companies from embracing the concept. This fact therefore means that, more companies prefer to use international investment arbitration as their preferred dispute resolution mechanism, but they probably lack the capability of doing so. In this regard, we can see that, investment arbitration is nothing short of an international phenomenon.

Purpose of the Study

Considering Iraq has experienced a change in regime over the past few years, there have been significant political and economic changes experienced in the country as well. Iraq being a member of the Middle East is of strategic importance in global security, with regards to acts of terrorism and its strategic importance in the production of oil for the growth of the world’s economies. Partly, this is the reason advanced by the American government for the justification of the Iraq war. However, now that the political situation in the country has stabilized after the overthrow of Saddam’s regime, Iraq remains of strategic importance in the Middle East, especially with regards to the entrenchment of democracy in the Middle East. This can only be achieved from the installation of democratic institutions in the Middle Eastern country and the opening of investment opportunities to foreign investors. Obviously, this move will improve the competitiveness of the Arab nation and consequently, an example will be set to other Middle Eastern nations to adopt better foreign trade terms.

Middle East is one region of the world where international trade has not been fully liberalized because of repugnant investment laws barring (or limiting) foreign investments. This has frustrated foreign investments in the region but there is hope in this context because most of the countries in the Middle East are experiencing increased pressures to reform their democratic processes and international investment laws to elevate the region to be at par with other world powers. This trend can be evidenced from the current uprisings going on in major Middle Eastern powers and the ousting of long-serving Middle Eastern rulers, such as those in Tunisia and Egypt, based on democratic grounds.

The entrenchment of democracy in Iraq is part of the entire equation of upholding better foreign investments terms in Middle East, and also part of the strategy of upholding fair arbitration practices in the Arab nation. This fact can be supported by the fact that, previously, Iraq was subject to unfair and undemocratic practices in international arbitration practices, supported by the Saddam regime. The courts were given unrivaled powers to intervene in international arbitration procedures and local investors were given preferential treatment in Iraqi courts, thereby reducing the attractiveness of Iraq’s economy to foreign investments. With the entrenchment of democracy and the repealing of such repugnant laws, there is more hope in Iraq’s international investment platform because international arbitration standards have been improved and foreign and local investors have been given an equal opportunity to carry out their businesses in the Arab nation.

These changes have led to a change in legislation since the ousting of its long time ruler, Saddam Hussein, and the subsequent takeover of the British and American-allied forces in 2003. In this regard, new laws have been created and many old ones discarded or amended. After the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime and the occupancy of American and British forces in Iraq, there has been a continuous change in Iraqi investment laws. Some laws were first amended by the United States Civil Administration which oversees the operations of American and British operations in Iraq, while others were amended by the Iraqi government.For instance, US civil administrator, Paul Bremer has been on the forefront in repealing existing commercial and civil laws, such as order no. 7 which exempts all foreign nationals working in Iraq from the country’s civil and penal laws. The new legislations, both issued by the US Civil Administration Authority and those enacted by the Iraqi government, have brought liberalization of commercial rules, foreign investments, arbitration and the entire business environment. It is important to note that, these new changes to Iraqi laws are significant to the way arbitration is done in the country.

However, these changes have been deemed unsatisfactory and extreme by some observers because the legislative changes have been voiced as part of a western ploy to take over Iraq and its economy. On the other hand, it is said that, the changes evidenced in Iraq’s foreign investment legislative laws are a step towards making Iraq a respectable foreign investment destination in Middle East. Most importantly, these changes are deemed necessary in making Iraq’s foreign investment laws up to the standard of international investment laws.

From the concerns raised about Iraq’s changes in legislation (to allow for foreign investments), this study seeks to establish whether these changes are sufficient enough to allow for foreign investments in Iraq. On the flip side, this study also seeks to establish whether the changes in legislation are a ploy by western powers to take over Iraq or they are only meant to elevate Iraq to an international level with regards to foreign investments. With regards to arbitration standards, this study seeks to establish if the legislative changes in Iraq are sufficient to provide a framework for international investors to be guaranteed of better terms for their investments in Iraq.

Viewing Iraq’s political changes from an economics point of view will therefore be the cornerstone of this study, but more importantly, viewing the economic changes from a macroeconomic and international point of view will provide the context of this study. The objective of this study will therefore be to determine the potential of Iraq’s economy in attracting foreign investments and providing a practical international investment arbitration guideline to solve international investment disputes arising in Iraq (with a special reference to the country’s ability to provide a framework for international arbitration of foreign disputes).

Research Questions

  • Are the current changes in Iraq’s arbitration laws enough to sustain foreign investments?
  • Do the current changes in Iraq’s arbitration laws elevate Iraq’s laws to international arbitration law standards?
  • Does the code of civil procedures (CPP) inhibit the effectiveness of new arbitration laws in Iraq?
  • Are the current legislative changes in Iraq illegitimate and part of a Western ploy to take over Iraq?
  • Are the legislative changes in Iraq sufficient to provide a framework for international investors to be guaranteed of better terms for their investments in Iraq?
  • Do Iraq’s new legislative laws provide too much freedom to international investors, such that, the interests of Iraq’s domestic economy and investors may be harmed?
  • Are Iraq’s new investment law enforceable and practical considering Iraq is a Muslim state and still under the influence of Muslim doctrines and Islamic business principles?

Hypothesis

  • The current changes in Iraq’s arbitration laws are enough to sustain foreign investments
  • The current changes in Iraq’s arbitration laws elevate Iraq’s arbitration laws to international arbitration law standards
  • The code of civil procedures does not inhibit the effectiveness of the new arbitration laws in Iraq
  • The current legislative changes in Iraq are legitimate and not part of a Western ploy to take over Iraq
  • The legislative changes governing international investment arbitration in Iraq are sufficient to provide a framework for international investors to be guaranteed of better terms for their investments in Iraq
  • Iraq’s new legislative laws provide too much freedom to international investors, such that, the interests of Iraq’s domestic economy and investors may be harmed
  • Iraq’s new investment laws are enforceable and practical even though Iraq is a Muslim state and still under the influence of Muslim doctrines and Islamic business principles?

Research Methodology

This study intends to investigate the extend, scope and practicalities of the new investment arbitration rules in Iraq and in this regard, the study will investigate the viability of the new arbitration rules in Iraq sustaining in the coming years. To effectively come up with a reliable conclusion, this study will rely on secondary research sources, but a descriptive research method of study will be used to gain a comprehensive analysis of the past and current international arbitration laws in Iraq. If this method is sufficiently employed, it is highly likely that, the research is going to be brief and cheap because not much time will be spent on obtaining information about the research topic. However, since the research methodology is as described above, there is a high likelihood that, the chances of unexpected hypotheses being arrived at will be high. In the same regard, the chance of ruling out any unexpected explanations or alternatives to the hypotheses developed will be low and more specifically, the chance of inferring causation will be low. Due to this reason, the descriptive research methodology will be of high importance and it will be used to gain an understanding of the international investment arbitration framework existing in Iraq.

The secondary research methodology will incorporate the use of existing literature on international arbitration disputes to establish the effectiveness of the changes in arbitration laws in the Middle Eastern country, but a lot of focus will be given to the views of literature excerpts written by international arbitration experts who have a special understanding of international arbitration in Middle East, and Iraq in particular. A past-and-present comparison analysis will be done to establish how much the arbitration laws of the country have changed and further analysis will be done to compare the recent changes of Iraq’s arbitration laws with current standards of international arbitration laws. The information obtained in this manner will be used to obtain qualitative research data because from the information obtained, we will try to build theories and explain existing relationships touching of the legislative reforms in Iraq and the resultant effect on international arbitration (and international trade volumes in the Arab country). In other words, the information obtained will be a qualitative study to establish the status of Iraq’s arbitration laws.

Organization of Study

The first part of this study notes that, there are several legislative changes touching on international investment arbitration in Iraq which have been instigated by the Iraqi interim government (which has taken over the government of Iraq after the ousting of Saddam’s regime). With these legislative changes in effect, there are numerous investment opportunities which have opened up in Iraq because not only does Iraq offer new investment opportunities, with regards to the reconstruction of its infrastructure and its economy, the privatization of most of the country’s industries also provides an incredible opportunity for international investors to bring their expertise and finances into Iraq to develop its economy.

The second part of this study notes that, the reforms of investment arbitration laws is at the centre of the new investment spirit in Iraq because in the past, investors were discouraged by the uneven grounds which investment arbitration disputes were heard (since many investors were subjected to tedious and rigorous legislative procedures in the Iraqi courts). Now, there is a paradigm shift where Iraq’s international investors are now subjected to new international arbitration laws which meet the standards of international investment arbitration laws. In this regard, the platform where foreign and local investors operate is the same; as opposed to the initial investment scenario where local investor where preferentially treated at the expense of international investors.

Through the third part of this study, we will see that, though there are many criticisms advanced to the repealing of Iraq’s international investment arbitration laws, it is important to note that, the changes witnessed in Iraq are in tandem with international practices of arbitration and whichever manner they have been introduced in Iraq does not matter because the entire point of undertaking reforms is to improve the economic condition of the country and the current reforms are the first step towards achieving this objective. Since international arbitration laws have been in existence for a long time, and Iraq is safely on its way towards conforming with such laws, it is correct to note that, the current arbitration laws are sustainable and even through Iraq is a Middle eastern state and under the influence of Islamic principles, the new international arbitration laws in Iraq is going to be an example to the wider Middle eastern region.

From this analysis, we will see that, the new legislative reforms regarding arbitration (witnessed in Iraq) are sufficient enough to sustain international investments in the Arab nation because they match international arbitration laws practiced worldwide. Moreover, their legal backing guarantees international investors that, chances of the Iraqi government interfering with their commercial activities are low. These new laws have therefore created the correct investment environment needed to spur foreign investment in Iraq.

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