Thursday, December 3, 2009

More On Wasted Reconstruction Projects In Iraq

It’s been reported here many times before that one of the greatest signs of failure of the United States’ effort to rebuild Iraq was the number of large reconstruction projects that the Iraqis have not been able to maintain after they were handed over to them. The November 21, 2009 New York Times provided a few more examples:

• $270 million water treatment plant in Nasiriya, Dhi Qar. Works only at limited capacity because the equipment is too sophisticated for its Iraqi workers.

• $4 million maternity hospital Hilla, Babil. Doesn’t have staff or enough supplies. Iraqis were never trained on equipment that U.S. installed.

• $98 million wastewater treatment plant Fallujah, Anbar. Serves only 1/3 of homes it’s supposed to because government doesn’t deliver enough fuel for it to operate at full capacity.

• Ibn Sina Hospita, Baghdad. Was the largest American military medical facility in Iraq with $7.9 billion worth of equipment. Iraqi Ministry of Health didn’t have staff or supplies to maintain it so it was shut down.

• $165 million Basra Children’s Hospital. Has been under going construction for last four years and is $115 million over budget. Iraq hopes it will open sometime in mid-2010, but doesn’t have enough staff for it.

Based upon reports by the Congressional Research Service, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, and Government Accountability Office the major cause of these problems were that the Americans never asked the Iraqis what they wanted or could handle, didn’t provide enough training, the poor management skills of the Iraqis, a lack of funds from Baghdad, middle class flight due to the sectarian war that robbed the country of many of its professionals, and poor maintenance standards after years of wars and sanctions.

SOURCES

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Hard Lessons,” 1/22/09

Williams, Timothy, “U.S. Fears Iraqis Will Not Keep Up Rebuilt Projects,” New York Times, 11/21/09

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