Iraq: When countries build while others destroy

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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Iraq has been promised a sum of $30 billion in reconstruction plans. Truth is, not many are excited about the idea for several reasons which include the difficult economic circumstances the region’s countries are going through and the high cost of wars.

What’s worse than money shortage is the mismanagement in Iraq itself. Who would want to invest money in a country where militias are deployed and corruption is rampant? There is sectarianism there and the government is weak.

Terrorism has not been eliminated even though it was defeated in Mosul and other areas. Obvious foreign interferences, particularly Iran’s, continue to increase. These are all dangerous challenges which we cannot ignore despite American and international pressures to provide support.


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Iraq’s problems are not due to the lack of financial resources but to the many woes it suffers from. Iraq itself is rich. It’s the world’s fifth largest proven oil reserves, and it lies on a treasure of gas.

This is in addition to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. If it had been stable and if its political authority had been capable of managing the entire state, no one would have hesitated to provide funds, loans and investments to reconstruct it.

Who would want to invest money in a country where militias are deployed and corruption is rampant? There is sectarianism there and the government is weak

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Unfulfilled promises

Iraqis must not be fooled by international conferences and commitments to reconstruct the country as similar promises have been made but never been fulfilled, like the case is for Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Gaza and Lebanon.

Financial commitments were not kept because the latter continued to suffer from violence and chaos. The experience in Gaza is a bad model as every time it was supported, it was destroyed due to its authority’s ill management and to its enemy’s violent reactions.

The same applies to Lebanon whom Hezbollah involved in wars several times and led to its destruction. They act as such then expect Gulf and western countries to reconstruct bridges, ports and the army.

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Iraq paid a high price for its mistakes. It compensated Kuwait for invading it as it paid it $46 billion and $4 billion are left. And today, Iraq has received promises that it will receive 30$ billion for reconstruction plans.

Turkey said it will pay $5 billion, the US said it will pay $3 billion, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait said they will pay $1.5 billion each, Qatar committed to pay $0.5 billion and the EU committed to paying less than $0.5.

Failure of authority

What can we notice when looking at the list of supporters? The only country that’s not helping the Iraqis is Iran which is the most responsible for Iraq’s destruction and for the failure of its central authority as it disintegrated Iraqi state institutions in order to control them and established a parallel army, i.e. the Popular Mobilization which resembles Hezbollah in Lebanon and performs the same task.

Khamenei’s regime has worked on supporting Iraqi religious groups at the expense of the civil state and it sent its general Qassem Soleimani to dictate the Iraqi command how to manage its military institutions and lead its wars. It also used Iraq to fund its operations and exploited it as a passage to Syria and Lebanon.

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If it hadn’t been for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ interferences, the Iraqis would have been in a better situation under the control of their political state institutions and the international community’s support. Iraq had in the past benefited from making use of its oil, water and human resources to establish a great state.

The question is: How can the Iraqis build their country when armed religious militias along with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards control it?

This article is also available in Arabic.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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