12/01/2004

Iraq: Unemployment fuels Insurgency ?

From Chris on Back to Iraq

Many Iraqis point to former Iraqi Proconsul Paul Bremer’s economic program — such as it was — as a source of resentment, which fuels the insurgency. His policies led to widespread unemployment as Ba’athists of every stripe were kicked out of their jobs and the Army was shut down. Now, unemployment is bad enough that even a few hundred dollars to shoot an RPG at an American humvee is worth the risk of being attacked by soldiers’ .50-cal, which does terrible things to human flesh.

“The insurgency is fueled by unemployment,” al-Damluji said. “The workers need good salaries, dignity. Otherwise, someone from the outside will pay them $300 to attack here and there. And they will do it.”

But considering the role the state has played in Iraq’s economy for the last several decades, a program of privatization is likely to be unpopular. I’ve not had time to do any deep reporting on this, but I suspect there’s a good story there."

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