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[casi-analysis] rewriting history

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What can be done to counter the BBC's deliberate misinformation?

They repeatedly try to put the blame on 'mismanagement' rather than
the real reasons. Obviously the real reasons for the detroyed
infrastructure would lay the US and UK open to a massive reparation
bill. In my view, any reasonable redevelopment in Iraq needs this
(and getting rid of the occupation). Otherwise, Iraqis will not get
back to their 1990 standard of living in our lifetimes.

Perhaps we could consider refocussing and campaigning? eg become
CORFI: Campaign on Reparations for Iraq

or CAFRI Campaign for Reparations for Iraq?

Cost of Iraqi reconstruction

The US-led invasion inflicted heavy damage on Iraq
The effort to rebuild Iraq is in the spotlight again as a conference
of donor nations gets underway in Tokyo.
Rebuilding Iraq's shattered infrastructure ranks as one of the most
challenging reconstruction tasks faced by the international community
since the World War II.

Last year's US-led invasion caused widespread damage, but much of the
country was already in a decrepit state after years of mismanagement
under Saddam Hussein's regime.

An eight-year war against Iran during the 1980s, coupled with
economic sanctions imposed in the wake of Saddam's ill-fated invasion
of Kuwait in 1990, also took their toll.

Last year, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
calculated that restoring Iraq's water, power, road and
telecommunications networks would cost $35.8bn (20bn ; 28.8bn

Repair bill

The Coalition Provisional Authority, which governed Iraq in the
aftermath of the invasion, estimated that reconstruction work not
taken into account in the World Bank/IMF study, including repairs to
the oil industry, would cost another $20bn.

To put these figures into perspective, the World Bank estimates that
Iraq's gross domestic product - the combined value of all the goods
and services the country produces - stood at just $18.4bn in 2002,
the year before the US-led invasion.

In October 2003, a group of 37 countries agreed to provide a total of
$32.1bn towards the reconstruction effort.

By far the biggest contribution came from the US, which set aside
$18.6bn, followed by Japan, with $4.9bn.

Other major donors included Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which pledged
$500m each, the UK, with $452m, and Spain, with $220m.

Spending delays

However, the reconstruction programme has made disappointing progress
since then, mainly because work on the ground has been hampered by an
unexpectedly fierce campaign of violence by Iraqi insurgents.

The most telling measure of the difficulties faced by contractors
operating in Iraq is the unexpectedly slow pace at which the
reconstruction money is being spent.

According to the US government, just $1.2bn of its budget had been
spent by 22 September.

Of this, $623m - more than half - was spent on security-related
measures, including training and equipping the Iraqi army and police

Repairs to the electricity network were the second biggest item of
expenditure, absorbing $300m.

Moreover, the US in August diverted some $3.4bn it had set aside to
rebuild Iraq's water and power networks towards measures aimed at
improving security and creating jobs.

Meanwhile, the other donor nations - who between them pledged $13.5bn
- have so far released only about $1bn of the total, partly because
of concerns over the deteriorating security situation.

Iraqi leaders are urging them to disburse the rest of the cash,
saying that speedily completing the reconstruction work offers the
best hope of ending the violence that plagues the country.

Mark Parkinson

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