The United States will be a main absentee from plans to contribute to Iraq’s finances, US officials say as Baghdad seeks to rebuild the country following a devastating battle against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
US officials at a donors’ conference held for Iraq’s reconstitution in Kuwait said Monday that the White House did not plan to pledge funds at the event.
This came despite announcements by officials in the conference that Baghdad would need more than $88 billion to rebuild Iraq following more than three years of war on Daesh that left many parts of the Arab country in ruins.
The US, which has been leading a military coalition purportedly fighting Daesh, claims it has played a major role in Iraq’s war against terrorists.
This comes as independent monitors have time and again challenged the claim and revealed that the US-led military campaign has significantly inflicted more civilian casualties.
The US also occupied Iraq for eight years after its invasion of the country in 2003, which led to the fall of former strongman Saddam Hussein. Many blame Washington’s presence in the country for the failure of Iraq’s efforts to make economic and political progress.
The United Nations has warned that the failure of the international community and major powers in the West to help Iraq could lead to renewed instability.
“If the international community doesn’t help the government of Iraq to stabilize these areas (devastated by the war) the gains against Daesh could be at risk,” said Lise Grande, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, at the Kuwait conference.
The Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq kicked off Monday in Kuwait City, Kuwait's capital, with the focus on post-war reconstruction of Iraq and vital issues concerned. The three-day meeting brings together several economic powers as well as regional and international organizations.
Kuwait’s state news agency, KUNA, reported a pledge of providing Iraq with $330 million in humanitarian aid by non-governmental organizations at a parallel NGO conference.
However, the figure would be far shy of Iraq’s estimates for funds needed to press ahead with post-Daesh reconstruction efforts.
Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili said during the conference that those ignoring Iraq’s pleas for financial help were forsaking the security of the entire Middle East region.
“Rebuilding Iraq is restoring hope to Iraq, and restoring the stability of Iraq is stabilizing the states of the region and the world,” said al-Jumaili.
Other Iraqi authorities said that a bulk of the funds was urgently needed for rebuilding the houses destroyed during the Daesh militancy, which are estimated at around 147,000 units.
The director general of Iraq’s Planning Ministry, Qusay Adulfattah, said the country would need some $23 billion in the short term and more than $65 billion in the medium term.Daesh controlled almost a third of Iraq at the peak of its devastating campaign.
Authorities declared a full victory over the terrorist group in December 2017.
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