Funding drive for Iraq falls short of what’s needed for reconstruction

World Today

Civilians walk in a neighborhood recently retaken by Iraqi security forces during fighting against Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, Thursday, June 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

A donor’s conference to aid Iraq this week garnered $30 billion in funds, but fell short of the $88.2 billion needed to reconstruct the country that has been ravaged by years of war and the fight against ISIL.

The United States did not directly pledge funds to the effort, but said it would offer $3 billion in loans and financing for American firms to invest in Iraq.

Turkey pledged $5 billion, the most money offered at the conference. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar each pledged about $1 billion.

The conference was held in Kuwait and gathered Iraq’s allies in an effort to raise funds to for a country torn apart after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and the fight against ISIL in Iraq since 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who represented the United States at the conference, called on the other nations present to play a role in Iraq’s reconstruction.

“Everyone in this room has an opportunity to help set Iraq on a new course and contribute to its long-term development,” he said.

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Since 2014, the U.S. had given Iraq $1.7 billion in humanitarian aid and $6 billion in economic and security assistance, The New York Times reported the State Department said. These funds were mainly given during the previous Obama administration.

“The Trump administration is aggressively moving away from providing development assistance and is instead pressing U.S. industries to take on the responsibility of investing in Iraq’s future,” said Mark Seaman, Communications Director at the Education for Peace in Iraq Center told CGTN America.

“This assumes that U.S. industries are ready to accept the risks involved with doing business in Iraq at a moment when the security, humanitarian, and political environments there are all quite fragile.”

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared an end to Iraq’s war against ISIL in December of 2017. Officials estimated the most the biggest cost needed to begin rebuilding homes.

Story with information from the Associated Press.