1/18/2006

USAID Report on Iraq

The left-wing blogosphere has been trying to debunk this administration, point-by-point, on virtually everything they have said about Iraq since 9/11. Now the job has been done by USAID.

USAID Report on Iraq

by BooMan
Tue Jan 17th, 2006 at 02:31:04 PM EST
Every once in a while the raw truth rears its ugly head and pops up above the surface of the White House spin-zone. The left-wing blogosphere has been trying to debunk this administration, point-by-point, on virtually everything they have said about Iraq since 9/11. Now the job has been done by USAID.
The U.S. Agency for International Development paints a dire and detailed picture of the Iraq security situation in its request for contractors to bid on its $1.32 billion, 28-month project to help stabilize 10 major Iraqi cities.

The USAID program, outlined in a Jan. 2 paper, envisions development between 2006 and 2008 of partnerships in cities that make up more than half of Iraq's population. Those cities would include Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Kirkuk and Najaf. The project, which to date has only $30 million of the proposed funds, will try to reduce violence by creating jobs, revitalizing community infrastructure, and mitigating ethnic and religious conflicts.

To prepare potential bidders for the task, USAID included an annex with the contractor application. It describes Iraq as being in the midst of an insurgency whose tactics "include creating chaos in Iraq society as a whole and fomenting civil war." Many of the attacks are against coalition and Iraqi security forces, the annex says, and they "significantly damage the country's infrastructure and cause a tide of adverse economic and social effects that ripple across Iraq."

Although President Bush and senior administration officials tend to see the enemy primarily as Saddam Hussein loyalists and foreign terrorists, the USAID analysis also places emphasis on "internecine conflict," which includes "religious-sectarian, ethnic, tribal, criminal and politically based" violence.

Point #1: USAID has a 28-month program. That is over two years for those of you that are not mathematicians. Many of us have been saying that we have no real plan to withdrawal (to bases, or from the country). This is evidence that our plan is to stay in Iraq's five biggest cities for over two more years and to dole out $1.32 billion in contracts. Many predict that we will draw down troops for the midterm elections. USAID debunks that claim. Any drawdown will be cosmetic, at best.

Point #2: We have been warning about the prospect of civil war, and we have been noting that much of the violence in Iraq is ethnic, sectarian or tribal in nature, and has little or nothing to do with jihadis. USAID confirms this by emphasizing 'internecine conflict' and "religious-sectarian, ethnic, tribal, criminal and politically based" violence.

The activities of religious extremists against secular Iraqis were also noted by USAID. The paper describes how in the southern part of Iraq, which is dominated by Shiites, "social liberties have been curtailed dramatically by roving bands of self-appointed religious-moral police." In cities, women's dress codes are enforced and barbers who remove facial hair have been killed, and liquor stores and clubs have been bombed.

Point #3: While the Bush administration has lauded the newfound freedom of Iraqis, exemplified by their ability to vote, we have stressed the loss of women's rights, and the loss of secular culture. I can't imagine living in a society where my barber might get clipped for trimming my beard and my bartender might get whacked for pouring me a drink. These types of crimes were extremely rare or non-existant in Saddam's Iraq. Now they are commonplace.

The women of Iraq are now subjected to dress codes, and the security situation is so bad that they are often too afraid to leave the house for school or employment. There is no honest appraisal of this development that would account it as a net increase in liberty.

The true situation for average law abiding Iraqis is best described in this passage:

The breakdown of Iraqi society and "the absence of state control and an effective police force" have let "criminal elements within Iraqi society have almost free rein," the paper states. Iraqi criminals in some cases "have aligned themselves with most of the combating groups and factions to further their aims" and Baghdad "is reportedly divided into zones controlled by organized criminal groups-clans," it states.

Point #4: The resistance to the Iraqi government is not restricted to foreign jihadis, Ba'athist deadenders, Sunni sectarians, or, even (as we often point out), Iraqi nationalists. It now includes criminal gangs that prosper in an atmosphere of ineffective law enforcement.

Booman Tribune ~ USAID Report on Iraq

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