Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Lack Of A Rebuilding Plan Undermines Iraq’s Call For More Help


West Mosul 2 years after the end of the war vs the Islamic State (Al Jazeera)

At the end of June Prime Minister Adil Mahdi and Ninewa Governor Mansour al-Marid both called for more international help to rebuild the country. At a meeting with a delegation from the United Nations’ Security Council the premier said that the international community should be helping Iraq more with reconstruction. That same day Governor Marid stated that the world was responsible for what happened to Mosul during the war against the Islamic State so it should provide more aid and investment. This came after the Trade Ministry announced a conference including 120 companies and 11 countries such as Germany, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others to try to garner money for putting post-conflict areas back together.

The Planning Ministry estimated that the country needed $45.7 billion to repair war damage, but has only raised a fraction of that. At an investment conference held in Kuwait in February 2019, $30 billion was pledged, but part of that was for economic development. The budget only appropriated paltry sums for rebuilding. Governor Marid for example said that Mosul alone need $5 billion for reconstruction, but all of Ninewa was given $250 million for that task. The Iraqi budget has always been weak on allocating for investment and even after the war ended parliament did not see fir to increase spending for this effort.

The major impediments for Iraq receiving more money is the lack of a strategy, and fears of what will happen to donations. In March 2019, the European Union’s ambassador to Iraq told the Christian Science Monitor that the EU had funds and plans to help Iraq but that there was no leadership coming from Baghdad. Without that Europe was more inclined to give to the United Nations and NGOs. Similarly, In June it was reported that the Carnegie Middle East Center found no reconstruction strategy from the Mahdi government. The huge levels of corruption is another issue. The media has talked about politicians manipulating contracts, and the embezzlement of millions already. Without any vision from the prime minister, and a lack of interest in rebuilding by Baghdad beyond calls for others to give money the international community cannot be expected to step in. The result is that large swaths of the country remain destroyed, services are subpar even in areas that have been put back together, and there is a lack of jobs and opportunity across post-war regions. The widespread graft within the government also means that if more was provided a lot of it would disappear into people’s pockets instead of helping the public.

SOURCES

Ahmed, Hunar, “Mosul seethes as corruption hinders reconstruction,” Rudaw, 5/4/19

Habib, Mustafa, “Fear of corruption disrupts the reconstruction of liberated cities, and influential investors take advantage of the opportunity,” Al Menasa, 3/30/19

Al Hurra, “Iraq seeks international support for reconstruction,” 6/30/19
- “Report: Iraq lacks an economic vision,” 6/20/19

Iraq News Network, “Al-Obaidi: Stop aid to Mosul for corruption,” 3/30/19

Al Mada, “The destruction is on Mosul despite the allocation of one trillion dinars for reconstruction,” 5/4/19
- “Opening of the Iraq reconstruction exhibition with the participation of 120 specialized companies,” 6/11/19

Peterson, Scott, “In Mosul’s enduring rubble, fertile soil for an ISIS revival?” Christian Science Monitor, 3/14/19

Sotaliraq, “Governor of Ninewa: We Need $5 billion to restore life to Mosul,” 6/30/19


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