The United States does not plan to contribute any money at a conference in Kuwait next week to fund Iraq’s reconstruction drive after the war against ISIS, US and Western officials said, a move critics say could deal a new blow to American standing internationally.
“We are not planning to announce anything,” a US official said on Thursday regarding financial assistance at the conference, which US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will attend.
The official, however, said Tillerson could still decide closer to the time to announce a contribution.
Washington instead is encouraging private-sector investment and counting on Iraq’s Gulf neighbors, particularly Sunni regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia, to pour in money as part of a rapprochement with Baghdad meant to reduce Shi’ite rival Iran’s influence in Iraq.
President Donald Trump said during the 2016 US presidential campaign that if elected, “the era of nation-building will be ended.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said his country needs up to $100 billion to fix crumbling infrastructure and cities devastated by the conflict against ISIS.
A shortage of reconstruction funds could increase the danger of reinvigorating grievances among the minority Iraqi Sunnis against Iraq’s Shi’te-led government.
In response to a query to the State Department about the lack of a US contribution, a US official pointed to the billions of dollars the US has committed to financing loans and restoring basic services to Iraqi towns and cities in the immediate aftermath of fighting.
“The immediate stabilization needs remain vast, and limited US government resources alone cannot meet these current and pressing needs, let alone consider supporting long-term reconstruction,” the US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official said Washington strongly supports the conference and would “continue to work with the Government of Iraq and the international community to help address the needs of the Iraqi people as they recover and rebuild their country.”
Jeremy Konyndyk, who served from 2013 to 2017 as head of the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, said that by not contributing to reconstruction, especially in combat-ravaged areas dominated by Sunnis, the Trump administration could help set the stage for a new insurgency.
“We’ve seen this movie before. There is a very real risk if the US doesn’t put money into reconstruction, that having just won the battle, you lose the peace,” said Konyndyk, now a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development think tank.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر