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Reconstruction of Iraq

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The Reconstruction of Iraq is the transitional period following the U.S. led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, after U.S. led forces transferred power in Iraq to the Coalition Provisional Authority. Since June 28, 2004, the US-supported Iraqi Interim Government has been recognized by the United Nations, the Arab League and several other countries as being the sovereign government of Iraq.

Contents

Institutions

The U.S. still retains significant de facto power in the country following the June 28 handover, leading many, especially those originally opposed to the war on Iraq, to describe that government as a puppet regime. The Bush administration claimed that the 'transition to Iraqi rule' would be characterized by falling human and economic costs; however, the period since the handover has been marked by the highest rates of U.S. military casualties and non-Iraqi contractor deaths since the war began, as well as a huge escalation in the strength of the Iraqi insurgency.

Stated aims

The transitional period during which the State of Iraq is undergoing a regime change from dictatorship to democracy. The State of Iraq stated aims for reconstruction during the transitional period was pronounced on June 28, 2004. The Iraqi people stated they were striving to reclaim their freedom which was usurped by the previous tyrannical regime, they have rejected violence and coercion in all their forms (and particularly when used as instruments of governance), and have determined that they shall hereafter remain a free people governed under the rule of law. (Source: Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period) The Iraqi constitution was signed on March 8, 2004 by the Iraq Interim Governing Counci.

See also: Human rights situation in Saddam's Iraq

Resistance

Many forces haved resisted the reconstruction efforts notably the Iraqi insurgency. To maintain these efforts, coalition forces have, among other measures, encircled a number of cities and villages with troop, arrested thousands of Iraqis and killed numerous insurgents. Fallujah and parts of "Sadr City" are sites of frequent battles causing destruction of buildings and security concerns that cause reconstruction to be difficult.

On repeated days following the invasion suicide bombings similiar to those in Israel from 2001-2004 occurred, resulting in heavy injuries and deaths of both US soldiers and Iraqi civilians. Security concerns have analoguously increased the cost of reconstruction substantially, leading critics to questions whether progress could be made at all. Elections are scheduled for January of 2005 but were contoversial due to lack of needed security, and strong divisions among civilian populations.

Social services

Electricity

See also: Economy of Iraq

The Associated Press says that electrical power generation and distribution, curtailed due to combat operations and sabotage, has been restored to above prewar levels. German firm Elbe Maschinenbau has signed an agreement to build three new power plants in Iraq, and three new ones have already been completed in the Anbar region. Despite this reported improvements there are frequent disruptions to the electric grid in the country including incidents like the one on September 13, 2004 where nearly all power in the country was lost after an attack by insurgents.

Food

The World Food Program says that almost all Iraqis have been receiving enough food since June 2003, since the Coalition took over the oil for food program from the United Nations. The coalition is slated to reduce support in June 2004.

Agriculture

See also: Economy of Iraq

Much of the seed needed for the 2004 growing season has been destroyed, spoiled, or consumed as food... resulting in a dire crop forecast, and destined to exacerbate the coming food crisis in Iraq. This, combined with the shortage of water for agricultural irrigation, and for cooking and washing food gives an ominous prospect for the near future. The US is co-leading with the Iraqi interim government a $400 million (US Dollars) effort over the next eight years to plant 160,000 date palm trees in order to boost exports of the product.

Health care and hospitals

Although Iraq, and particularly the city of Baghdad, was once known as having some of the best medical equipment and training in the Middle East, in the years following the 1991 Gulf War, after which Iraq was placed on a harsh UN sanctions regime, life expectancy for Iraqis dropped from 67 years to 59 years. Under the reconstruction of Iraq, the Ministry of Health now has a $1 billion (US Dollars) budget, about $40 per Iraqi citizen. By mid-2004 all 240 of Iraq's hospitals were up and running, although many still lacked medicines and other basic supplies. Salaries for doctors and nurses have been greatly increased, and maintenance is being performed on some health care facilities.

Water

Although the water supply has reached prewar levels in some provinces, aging and poorly maintained equipment combined with looting and vandalism leaves the drinking water system substandard. 157 wells are being constructed in Arbeel, Kirkuk, Al-Sulaymaniyah and Dhouk governorates, and several dams are being constructed across the country, including in Al-Sulaymaniyah governorate and the Western Desert.

Sewage

Untreated waste is polluting the Euphrates River, and many treatment plants require repair. More than 45 pipelines have exploded

Garbage

The first modern landfill in Iraqi history is currently being developed in southwest Baghdad, with the capacity to handle 2,230 cubic meters of waste per day. USAID is helping to build a second landfill north of Baghdad, which will handle 3,000 cubic yards (2,300 m³) of waste per day. Both landfills will be built to international environmental standards.

Schools

Almost all schools have reopened -- including all 22 universities.

Media

Main article: Communications in Iraq

Iraqis now enjoy freedom of speech, with the one stipulation that there be no direct attempt to incite insurrection against the new government. This freedom is currently being exercised by the several hundred new newspapers that have sprung up since the fall of Saddam in April, 2002. Television stations, both satellite (Al Fayhaa, etc.) and terrestrial (Al Sharqiya, Alhurra, etc.), and radio stations (Radio Dijla, etc.) broadcast freely, and no longer have their content dictated by the government.

Jobs

Main article: Economy of Iraq

Many Iraqis were left jobless by the collapse of the old government and by the war. An American public works program was created to provide new jobs, and there are projects to attract foreign investment and to encourage local business development. According to the Gulf Daily News, the Iraq Project and Contracting Office employed 80,000 Iraqis each day in the early weeks of August 2004. 100 job sites have opened across Iraq, and 900 more are expected to open in late 2004.

Oil

See also: Economy of Iraq

Oil production still lags behind prewar levels, due in large part to continuing warfare and political instability.

Repair contracts have been awarded to a Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown and Root, a global engineering, technology, and services company. The US "is counting on oil revenues to help pay for reconstruction of the country." (AP) Some in the international community have expressed frustration of the Pentagon's refusal to award contracts to nations that opposed the war. [1] (http://ap.washingtontimes.com/dynamic/files/specials/interactives/iraq_rebuilding_flash/index.html?SITE=DCTMS&%20SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT)

In mid-2004, the Iraqi Oil Ministry announced plans to dig 2,000 new oil wells in 2005, and to build four new oil refineries in central and southern Iraq. Average oil exports from Iraq in July, 2004 are estimated at 1.5 million barrels per day, a number which is expected to rise sharply by the end of 2004.

Government

Main article: Politics of Iraq

The Iraqi Governing Council consists of 25 member council, and reflects the country's ethnic and religious diversity (see Iraqi Governing Council). On June 28, 2004, Iraqi sovereignty was transferred back into Iraqi hands. A transitional parliamentary election, for an assembly which will draft a new consistution, is slated for January 30, 2005.

See also: Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq Interim Governing Council, Iraqi Interim Government

Military

The arms embargo against Iraq was lifted with the fall of Saddam's government. One newly formed Iraqi battalion is on duty, with 27 scheduled for activation by summer 2004. Eligibility is denied to men over 40 or who served as colonels or generals under Saddam. According to DefenseLink, "As of July 28, 2004, Iraqi army, coastal defense, air, and National Guard forces had received more than 2,500 vehicles, 600 radios, 55,000 weapons and 25,000 pieces of body armor. Interior ministry forces, including police, border enforcement and facilities protection services, had received more than 6,800 vehicles, 14,000 radios, 101,000 weapons, and nearly 46,000 pieces of body armor. Equipment totals for all forces eventually reach nearly 290,000 weapons, 24,000 vehicles, 75,000 radios, and more than 190,000 pieces of body armor, officials said."

See also: Multinational force in Iraq

Economy and commerce

See also: Economy of Iraq and Transportation in Iraq

Iraq's bond market opened in mid-June, 2004. Interest rates are being set by the free market, as opposed to government control, for the first time. The Iraq Stock Exchange also opened in June, and 500 million shares were traded on the first day, which is more shares than the previous stock exchange, the Baghdad Stock Market, had ever traded. As of August, 2004, it has 27 listed companies, with about 100 more due to go public through September and October.

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