Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Postwar Business Environment In Fallujah

(Combating Terrorism Center)

The International Organization for Migration did a survey at the end of 2018 into the economic situation in Fallujah. It found that a high number of businesses were destroyed and looted during the time the city was under Islamic State control and the period it was liberated. In the aftermath firms are still facing difficulties like in many other post conflict areas of Iraq.

Almost all of the businesses in Fallujah reported that they suffered from war damage and its aftermath. 83% of companies said that their places had been burned, destroyed or looted. The city’s infrastructure was also destroyed. That meant the electricity supply was a major issue in the postwar period. Many people lost all their savings during the two and half years IS controlled Fallujah. That has made it difficult to revive markets since consumers lack money, and entrepreneurs lack capital to rebuild their property. That resulted in 58% of companies saying they had suffered decreased profits. Such difficulties can be expected in any post conflict situation. Many people fled the city when it was taken over by the insurgents. Their businesses were then ransacked. The fighting to retake the city caused more damage as well as knocking out many of the services. Since the government has no rebuilding program restoring things like power have gone slowly. Businesses are also trying to deal with a shrunken market.

Firms continue to face obstacles today. One is that companies have difficulties bringing in supplies and raw materials due to a high number of checkpoints in Anbar. That has also blocked people from returning to the city. Finally, firms were facing high rents and there were problems accessing credit. That has limited their ability to recover. The government has prioritized security in places like Anbar after the war. That has meant there are more security checks along the major routes especially the one to Baghdad. The Iraqi forces are notorious for using these places to extort money from shipping companies and citizens. That can deter displaced people from going home since they may not have the money to pay bribes. They could also be afraid of being arrested by suspicious security forces. The security checks also add more time and costs to businesses waiting for their goods in Fallujah. These are other issues that are restraining the revival of companies and restoring markets to what they were pre-2014.

The situation in Fallujah is very similar to other post-conflict areas in other provinces. The majority of businesses suffered major damages during the war. While many have now re-opened they are struggling to rebuild, restore their sales, and maintain their supplies. Again, the fact that the government has no program to help these war torn areas or the firms that reside there mean people are basically on their own and the recovery period will be long and difficult.

SOURCES

International Organization for Migration, “Enterprise Development Opportunities and Challenges in Fallujah,” 1/20/19

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