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May 20th marks the one-year anniversary of the formation of the Maliki government. Read this new report documenting how little progress has been made on key political benchmarks, including amending the constitution, revising the de-Baathification, oil, and provincial laws, and disarming the militias. More HERE.
Costs to the Iraqi Population over the Past Year
More than 25,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed over the past 12 months. Iraqis continue to bear the brunt of the civil war while their government continues to dither. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, which had been collecting figures for Iraqi civilian deaths, has been denied information from the Iraqi government—making it even more difficult to determine the war’s toll on Iraqi civilians. Yet information collated by the Los Angeles Times indicates that more than 5,500 Iraqis were killed during the first three months of 2007. Moreover, attacks during the first two months of the escalation have only marginally declined. March averaged 157 attacks each day, while April’s average dipped slightly to 149.
More than half a million Iraqis have fled their homes, with 50,000 leaving every month. The upswing in sectarian violence has exacerbated the Iraqi refugee crisis. Since the Samarra mosque bombing in February 2006, nearly three-quarters of a million Iraqis have left their homes. In all, there are more than two million total Iraqi refugees abroad in Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and other countries, while 1.9 million Iraqis are internally displaced. Since the start of this fiscal year on October 1, 2006, the United States has accepted only 69 Iraqi refugees.
Nationwide electricity production is below prewar levels, especially in Baghdad, where there were only 6.5 hours of power per day in late March. Iraq is still only producing about 4,000 megawatts of electricity per day, 2,000 megawatts below the goal that was supposed to be reached in July of 2004. This level of electricity production meets only slightly more than half the demand, according to a recent U.S. government report.
Oil production fails to meet U.S. and Iraqi targets. Iraq’s greatest potential source of national wealth, its oil sector, continues to flounder. Despite billions of dollars in U.S. and foreign reconstruction assistance, the Government Accountability Office reports that “Iraq will need billions of additional dollars to rebuild, maintain, and secure” its oil and electricity sectors. Oil production remains well below the goal of three million barrels per day set by the United States. In addition, 10 percent to 30 percent of refined oil products are disappearing and being sold on the black market.
Iraq lost $5 billion to corruption and failed to spend $8 billion of its 2006 budget. The Iraqi government is proving to be an unreliable steward of the Iraqi public’s money. It failed to spend $8 billion allocated to capital building and reconstruction projects that were necessary to get the country on its feet. Furthermore, Iraq’s Commission on Public Integrity estimated the losses of official government corruption to be $5 billion a year—or roughly an eighth of Iraq’s 2007 budget.
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