The Bush administration’s answer to this question was spelled out on 19 September 2003, when Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, promulgated four orders that included ‘the full privatization of public enterprises, full ownership rights by foreign firms of Iraqi businesses, full repatriation of foreign profits … the opening of Iraq’s banks to foreign control, national treatment for foreign companies and … the elimination of nearly all trade barriers’. The orders were to apply to all areas of the economy, including public services, the media, manufacturing, services, transportation, finance, and construction. Only oil was exempt (presumably because of its special status as revenue producer to pay for the war and its geopolitical significance). The labour market, on the other hand, was to be strictly regulated. Strikes were effectively forbidden in key sectors and the right to unionize restricted. A highly regressive ‘flat tax’ (an ambitious tax reform plan long advocated for implementation by conservatives in the US) was also imposed.
These orders were, some argued, in violation of the Geneva and Hague Conventions, since an occupying power is mandated to guard the assets of an occupied country and not sell them off."
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
But no, free trade ex vi termini means happy peace confetti. What do you mean these same measures are being imposed on the fringe EU countries? Nah that’s just a coincidence. Austerity is just the hangover-after-the-party.