Wednesday, December 16, 2009

U.S. Reconstruction Coming To An End

Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 the United States has promised the country $52.8 billion in reconstruction funds. That was the largest rebuilding effort in American history. Now this program is expected to end by 2014.

Of the $52.8 billion made available to Iraq, $43.57 billion of it has actually been obligated to specific projects, and $39.54 billion has been spent. The Obama administration has asked for $800 million for the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year. There is also $1 billion in supplemental funding for 2010 and $1.5 billion in 2012. The reconstruction effort is already winding down as only $58 million of the $1 billion in 2010 money has been obligated as of September 2009, and only $300,000 has been spent. That’s largely the result of the beginning of the withdrawal of U.S. forces. With less troops out in the field and the planned drawdown of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams, there are fewer opportunities for new projects to be planned. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) estimates that by 2012-2014 all of the money currently in the pipeline for Iraq will run out. After that the U.S. will continue to provide aid, but not in the large amounts that it has in the past.

The largest chunk of reconstruction funds ended up going to security. In total, $24.52 billion was allocated for various security endeavors, with $20.72 billion actually being spent. Creating a new Iraqi Army is considered the one success of the U.S. effort. There are 245,000 Iraqi soldiers, and over 400,000 police. They now have control of all of Iraq’s 18 provinces, are in the lead of the country’s counterinsurgency program, and the Army is considered competent enough to handle internal security. The police are more open to political and local influences, thousands have not been trained, and are still considered a work in progress. Both forces remain almost completely dependent upon the U.S. for logistics and procurement however, and Iraq is not capable of protecting itself from outside threats.

In comparison, $21.2 billion was spent on the economy and government. $12.36 billion was allocated for infrastructure, $7.28 billion for governance, and $1.56 billion for the economy. Of that, $18.83 billion has actually been spent. The sectors that got the most money were electricity, $5.16 billion, water and sanitation $2.74 billion, government capacity $2.50 billion, oil and gas $2.06 billion, and developing democracy and civil society $2.03 billion.

There is still over $11.6 billion in on-going projects. Baghdad has the most with $2.92 billion, followed by $543.46 million in Basra, $362.23 million in Tamim, and $1.11 billion across the country. In terms of sectors, there is $5.07 billion in electricity projects, $3.08 billion in water and sanitation, $1.77 billion in oil and gas, $1.27 billion in transportation and communication, and $467.97 million in governance and infrastructure.

Reconstructing Iraq’s infrastructure and government has run into many problems. While things like electricity production is at an all time high, it is still not meeting demand. There are also millions of dollars worth of projects that are either not operating at capacity or have been abandoned because Iraqis cannot staff, supply, or afford them. Most importantly, just over half of the money got diverted to security rather than developing the country. 

Overall, the SIGIR believes that the U.S. failed in this endeavor because of a lack of pre-war planning and coordination, bad contracting practices, and building projects that Americans wanted, not Iraqis. Another major problem was that the lack of security derailed many projects, and led to huge cost overruns. That’s seen in the fact that as the reconstruction effort winds down, more money was spent on the Iraqi military and police than the economy or government. There are some successes like the Iraqi Army, but many continuing problems like the lack of adequate services. The U.S. invasion ended the dictatorial rule of Saddam, but the $52.8 billion reconstruction effort is leaving behind a rather typical, dysfunctional Third World country.

Status of Major U.S. Reconstruction Funds

Area
Sector
Allocated
Obligated
Expended
Security
Equipment
$7.29 bil
6.82 bil
6.03 bil

Training
$6.11 bil
$5.68 bil
$5.45 bil

Infrastructure
$5.81 bil
$5.55 bil
$4.84 bil

Sustainment
$2.55 bil
$2.41 bil
$2.17 bil

Rule of Law
$1.50 bil
$1.48 bil
$1.27 bil

Related Activities
$1.27 bil
$1.15 bil
$0.97 bil

Subtotal
$24.52 bil
$23.09 bil
$20.72 bil
Infrastructure
Electricity
$5.16 bil
$4.99 bil
$4.86 bil

Water and
Sanitation

$2.74 bil
$2.63 bil
$2.47 bil

Oil and Gas
$2.06 bil
$1.92 bil
$1.91 bil

General
Infrastructure

$1.25 bil
$1.24 bil
$1.24 bil

Transportation and
Communication

$1.15 bil
$1.09 bil
$0.99 bil

Subtotal
$12.35 bil
$11.88 bil
$11.47 bil
Governance
Capacity
Development

$2.50 bil
$2.29 bil
$1.91 bil

Democracy and
Civil Society

$2.03 bil
$2.04 bil
$1.66 bil

Public Services
$1.93 bil
$1.91 bil
$1.73 bil

Humanitarian
Relief

$0.82 bil
$0.82 bil
$0.75 bil

Subtotal
$7.28 bil
$7.06 bil
$6.04 bil
Economy
Economic
Governance

$0.82 bil
$0.80 bil
$0.74 bil

Private Sector
Development

$0.74 bil
$0.74 bil
$0.57 bil

Subtotal
$1.56 bil
$1.54 bil
$1.32 bil
TOTAL

$45.72 bil
$43.57 bil
$39.54 bil

Remaining Infrastructure Projects by Province

Province
Electricity
Water and
Sanitation

Oil and
Gas

Transporta-
tion and
Commun-
ication

General
Infra-
structure

Total
Baghdad
$1,504.22 mil
$755.31 mil
$40.6 mil
$282.17 mil
$341.68
mil

$2,923.97 mil
Basra
$543.46 mil
$238.32 mil
$558.55 mil
%171.8 mil
$8.39 mil
$1,520.52
mil

Tamim
$362.23 mil
$42.87 mil
$187.39 mil
$21.09 mil
$8.47 mil
$622.05
mil

Dhi Qar
$106.67 mil
$399.69 mil
$0.43 mil
$21.42 mil
$13.06 mil
$541.26
mil

Salahaddin
$311.19 mil
$59.51 mil
$71.52 mil
$65.75 mil
$7.37 mil
$515.36
mil

Anbar
$251.58 mil
$188.88 mil
-
$70.15 mil
$3.92 mil
$514.53
mil

Ninewa
$118.74 mil
$126.87 mil
$0.08 mil
$66.06 mil
$6.97 mil
$318.72
mil

Iirbil
$102.54 mil
$201.67 mil
$0.08 mil
$5.07 mil
$2.46 mil
$311.82 mil
Diyala
$80.66 mil
$143.47 mil
$2.89 mil
$23.79 mil
$6.24 mil
$257.05 mil
Muthanna
$15.02 mil
$189.79 mil
$0.07 mil
$19.12 mil
$3.87 mil
$227.87 mil
Babil
$121.65 mil
$47.63 mil
-
$36.01 mil
$3.49 mil
$208.78 mil
Najaf
$72.79 mil
$60.84 mil
-
$14.26 mil
$4.43 mil
$152.31 mil
Qadisiya
$86.78 mil
$30.46 mil
-
$21.75 mil
$2.65 mil
$141.63 mil
Maysan
$76.31 mil
$20.26 mil
$0.06 mil
$14.06 mil
$6.32 mil
$117.01 mil
Wasit
$45.38 mil
$30.21 mil
-
$19.18 mil
$10.23 mil
$105.01 mil
Karbala
$46.99 mil
$39.0 mil
-
$4.88 mil
$1.58 mil
$92.45 mil
Dohuk
$61.4 mil
$8l.34 mil
-
$0.93 mil
$7.63 mil
$78.3 mil
Sulaymaniya
$49.03 mil
$15.28 mil
-
$2.98 mil
$1.06 mil
$68.35 mil
Nationwide
& Regional

$1,115.1 mil
$487.18 mil
$916.14 mil
$418.14 mil
$28.16 mil
$2,964.71 mil
TOTAL
$5,071.73 mil
$3,085.58 mil
$1,777.81 mil
$1,278.6 mil
$467.97 mil
$11,681.69 mil
 

SOURCES

Cordesman, Anthony, “Assessing the Readiness of the Iraqi Security Forces,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 8/12/09

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Hard Lessons,” 1/22/09
- “Quarterly Report to the United States Congress,” 10/30/09

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