Cost to re­build Iraq has $88.2B price tag

Af­ter Is­lamic State war, more than 5M peo­ple dis­placed.

Dayton Daily News - - WORLD - By Malak Harb and Jon Gam­brell

Kuwait has KUWAIT CITY — opened a week of con­fer­ences seek­ing aid for re­build­ing Iraq af­ter the on­slaught of the Is­lamic State group, seek­ing tens of bil­lions of dol­lars for a na­tion that only a gen­er­a­tion ago in­vaded it.

Au­thor­i­ties es­ti­mate Iraq needs $88.2 bil­lion to re­store a coun­try smashed af­ter the Sunni ex­trem­ists seized the coun­try’s sec­ond-largest city of Mo­sul and a mass of ter­ri­tory in June 2014.

While the U.S. will not make any new di­rect aid pledges at the con­fer­ence, Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller- son is ex­pected to an­nounce an over $3 bil­lion fi­nan­cial pack­age, an Amer­i­can of­fi­cial said. Still, far more money will be needed, Iraqi of­fi­cials say.

fin­ished one bat­tle but we are en­gaged now with a war for re­con­struc­tion,” said Mustafa al-Hiti, the head of Iraq’s re­con­struc­tion fund for ar­eas af­fected by ter­ror- ist oper­a­tions.

Among the hardest-hit ar­eas is Mo­sul, which Iraqi forces, aided by Ira­nian-backed Shi­ite mili­tias and a U.S.-led coali­tion, re­cap­tured in July 2017. Their vic- tory came at a steep cost for Mo­sul, as coali­tion airstrikes and ex­trem­ist sui­cide car bombs de­stroyed homes and govern­ment build­ings.

Of the money needed, Iraqi of­fi­cials es­ti­mate $17 bil­lion alone needs to go to­ward re­build­ing homes, the big­gest sin­gle line item of­fered Mon­day on the first day of meet­ings. The United Na­tions es­ti­mates 40,000 homes need to be re­built in Mo­sul alone.

“The ma­jor­ity of the dam­age was to western Mo­sul as it went through one of the worst and fiercest bat­tles in his­tory,” said No­fal al-Ak­oub, the gov­er­nor of Iraq’s Nin­eveh prov­ince. It “led to the to­tal de­struc­tion of its in­fra­struc­ture.”

Al-Ak­oub said $42 bil­lion was needed for his prov­ince alone, as it is home to Mo­sul. Iraq needs some $20 bil­lion now to be­gin its re­con­struc- tion, al-Hiti said.

The war against the Is­lamic State group dis­placed more than 5 mil­lion peo­ple. Only half have re­turned to their home­towns in Iraq.

How­ever, of­fi­cials ac­knowl- edge a feel­ing of fa­tigue from in­ter­na­tional donors, espe- cially af­ter the wars in Iraq and Syria sparked the big- gest mass mi­gra­tion since World War II.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump him­self on Mon­day tweeted that Amer­ica was “so stupidly spend­ing $7 tril­lion in the Mid­dle East, it is now time to start in­vest­ing in OUR coun­try.”

Bil­lions of dol­lars poured into Iraq af­ter the 2003 U.S.- led in­va­sion that top­pled dic­ta­tor Sad­dam Hus­sein, with what feels now like lit­tle vis­i­ble ef­fect. While Iraq is OPEC’s sec­ond-largest crude pro­ducer and home to the world’s fifth-largest known re­serves, it says it needs $7 bil­lion to re­pair its oil and gas fields. It has strug­gled to pay in­ter­na­tional firms run­ning them.

The U.S. alone spent $60 bil­lion over nine years — some $15 mil­lion a day — to re­build Iraq. Around $25 bil­lion went to Iraq’s mil­i­tary, which dis­in­te­grated dur­ing the light­ning 2014 of­fen­sive of the Is­lamic State group, which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq. U.S. govern­ment au­di­tors also found mas­sive waste and cor­rup­tion, fu­el­ing sus­pi­cions of Western politi­cians like Trump who want to scale back for­eign aid.

The over $3 bil­lion pack­age now planned for Iraq from the Amer­i­cans will come from the Ex­port-Im­port Bank of the United States, ac­cord­ing to a U.S. of­fi­cial. The of­fi­cial said the pack­age will be struc­tured so that the ini­tial amount could rise to as much as $5 bil­lion over sev­eral years. The of­fi­cial spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss the pack­age prior to its an­nounce­ment.

That money would in­clude loans, loan guar­an­tees and in­sur­ance de­vices to en­cour­age Amer­i­can in­vest­ment.


Home­less Iraqi peo­ple push their be­long­ings through the rub­ble of al-Rashid mil­i­tary base be­long­ing to the for­mer Iraqi army in Bagh­dad on Mon­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.