Since the defeat of IS, steps have to be taken to rebuild, physically and morally, a nation that has once again been shattered. These elections could be another of those steps, but all the signs indicate that they will do little more than maintain the status quo, with the real issues facing Iraqis once again going unaddressed.
Results for Category: Iraq
reaction from the US, which relies heavily on the Kurds in its fight against IS but fears losing its influence over Iraq’s central government, was muted. While some in the US decried the Iraqi offensive and particularly the use of American military equipment in it, President Donald Trump pointedly did not take sides.
The United Nations (UN) estimates that in the short term, rebuilding will cost at least $1 billion. Lisa Grande, the United Nations Development Programme’s resident representative in Iraq, said it will take about $470 million to restore basic infrastructure including the power, water and sewer systems and to rehabilitate hospitals, schools and houses in the neighbourhoods with the most severe damage in western Mosul. At least another $237 million is needed for the more lightly damaged districts in western Mosul and a further $370 for rebuilding in eastern Mosul.
The policies of the Shiite-dominated government have prevented Sunnis from contributing effectively to building the Iraqi state and running its affairs. In recent years, the government has enacted several new laws and allegedly used them to marginalize and exclude Sunnis from political decision-making.
In the first month of the operation, approximately 4,000 civilians were killed and 500,000 residents fled. Civilians have paid with their lives for following official advice to stay in their homes. Yet the prospects for survivors are little better. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are trapped in the part of Mosul still controlled by ISIS, where supplies of food, fuel and drinkable water are dwindling and violence is a daily reality.
After the end of Saddam Hussein’s reign in 2003, and the fall of the Baath party, the Iraqi media environment was rapidly opened up under American occupation. By 2004, over 200 newspapers had begun publishing, in addition to around 80 radio stations and 20 television channels. The Iraqi public were also quick to purchase satellite dishes and receive transmissions from abroad. A revised constitution created in 2005 enshrined media freedom, further adding to initial optimism about a new era for the Iraqi media. However, repressive government measures, exacerbated by sectarian tensions, violence and the seizure of territory by Islamic State (ISIS), have made the country one of the most hostile environments for journalists to operate in.
The KRG has continued to grow in stature and international standing, even as ISIS has harassed its borders and threatened its very existence. But the greatest threat to a prosperous future remains an internal one. The demon of internecine strife has not disappeared and, while the fault lines of Kurdish politics continue to undercut the region’s potential, any talk of truly stable and steady progress remains just that: talk.
The Mosul liberation operation entails high risks and big challenges. According to the United Nations, a problem that Iraq is facing during the liberation operation, and will continue to face even after the liberation, is that almost one million people may be forced to leave their homes, which will lead to a suffocating humanitarian crisis.