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[casi] America's rebuilding of Iraq is in chaos, say British

Hi all,

Maybe a new Commandment will help the Yank admins:

"Thou shall not do any harm to thy brother by yer irresponsible

or so ...




America's rebuilding of Iraq is in chaos, say British

By Peter Foster in Baghdad
(Filed: 17/06/2003)

The American-led reconstruction effort in Iraq is "in chaos" and suffering
from "a complete absence of strategic direction", a very senior British
official in Baghdad has told The Telegraph.

The comments paint a grim picture of American incompetence and mismanagement
as the Coalition Provisional Authority struggles to run post-Saddam Iraq.

Paul Bremer: inter-departmental fighting
"This is the single most chaotic organisation I have ever worked for," the
official said yesterday.

The source revealed that Paul Bremer, the US administrator in Iraq, had
"fewer than 600" staff under his control to run a country the size of France
in which the civil infrastructure was on the point of collapse.

"The operation is chronically under-resourced and suffers from an almost
complete absence of strategic direction," he added.

Similar frustrations have been voiced privately in London, where British
ministers are said to be fed up with being "taken for granted".

As revealed in The Telegraph yesterday, Tony Blair appointed Sir Jeremy
Greenstock, Britain's best-known diplomat, as his special envoy in Baghdad
in an attempt to put some political muscle into the administration.

Officials said a crippling problem is the fact that the US has transposed
Washington's inter-departmental fighting to Baghdad.

For instance, the payment of salaries has been slowed down by Washington's
inability to decide which currency to use - US dollars, the former regime's
"Saddam dinars" or the so-called "Swiss dinars" used in the Kurdish areas.

In Baghdad the senior British official said the chaos at the heart of the
coalition was seriously hampering its ability to deliver vital services to
the Iraqi people, such as salaries, electricity and security.

"We are facing an almost complete inability to engage with what needs to be
done and to bring to bear sufficient resources to make a difference," he

The official added that a dangerous gulf was opening up between the
expectations of the Iraqi people and what the coalition was realistically
able to deliver. The growing dissatisfaction among ordinary Iraqis -
intensified by the temper-fraying heat of a Baghdad summer - is easily
discernible on the streets of the capital.

As 10 local builders used shovels and wheelbarrows to repair the Baghdad
police station, residents outside demanded to know when they would see more
Iraqi police on the streets.

Some April salaries remain unpaid and the electricity supply remains
extremely unreliable.

The heavy-handed presence of American soldiers and, perhaps more
importantly, the lack of any visible Iraqi partnership in Government is
further fuelling resentment.

The official, who was involved in the planning for post-war Iraq from its
conception, said Washington had been seriously caught out by the discovery
that Iraq was no longer a functioning country.

"The original post-war plan was to solve the humanitarian crisis - should it
have arisen, which it did not - and then use the existing Iraqi ministries
and officials to get the country running again as quickly as possible."

In the event the coalition arrived in Baghdad to find the ministries looted
and destroyed and Iraqi civil servants "unable to make decisions themselves"
after years of living in a police state.

"They demand written authority to do the tiniest thing, as a consequence of
living under Saddam," he said. Within weeks it became obvious that the
operation would take years not months.

Joseph Collins, head of stability operations at the US Defence Department,
conceded to Congressmen last week that bringing order to Iraq had proved
"tougher and more complex" than had been expected.

The situation was not irretrievable, the British official said, before
warning that the coalition could face serious difficulties and even unrest
if it was unable to raise its game in the coming months.

"This is a difficult period, particularly with the extreme temperatures," he
concluded, "It could be said that we are currently sowing the seeds of a
better Iraq, but if we don't have anything to harvest by the autumn, we
could face the consequences."


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