View Full Version : Provinces Use Rebuilding Money in Iraq

10-01-2007, 03:05 PM
Provinces Use Rebuilding Money in Iraq (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/01/world/middleeast/01reconstruct.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&ref=world)
October 1, 2007

HILLA, Iraq, Sept. 30 — This mostly easygoing provincial capital, where the Euphrates River winds around as if it is in no hurry to go farther south, holds the latest sign that political power in Iraq is leaving its historical home in Baghdad for outlying regions. That sign is a local government that knows how to spend money.

Because of security threats and a seemingly immovable bureaucracy, the federal ministries in Baghdad largely failed to spend billions of dollars of Iraqi oil revenues set aside last year to rebuild things like roads, schools, hospitals and power plants.

Although some ministries have improved slightly, what has really caught the eye of Iraqi politicians is the way some local governments have begun bypassing the morass in Baghdad by using hundreds of millions of dollars of the reconstruction money they receive from the government to finance regional projects.

10-02-2007, 12:08 PM
I'm responding to myself, but here's another story along the same lines.

Bureaucratic 'surge' boosts local government
By Steve Negus, Iraq Correspondent
Financial Times
Updated: 5:42 a.m. ET Oct. 1, 2007

Here in Iraq's dusty Sunni Arab hinterland, teams of US diplomats, soldiers, aid experts and Iraqi-US *advisers are rumbling about country roads in convoys of armoured Humvees to listen to the concerns and grievances of Iraq's much neglected local governments.

They are part of an inter-agency effort known as the Provincial Reconstruction Teams, or PRTs, and represent a philosophy of development that differs from the early post-invasion years - rather than spend billions to build infrastructure, it aims to increase Iraq's capacity to spend its own money.


10-02-2007, 03:57 PM
You're not talking to yourself, I'm paying attention. Good stuff! Thanks for posting it.

10-02-2007, 07:15 PM
Well, since I have an audience, I would like to follow up and say that USAID has been providing assistance to local governments since 2003. CA units were providing assistance to neighborhood, district and provincial councils as well. Would be interested to hear what folks think about promoting strong local government (decentralization?) in Iraq.

More info on USAID's work in this area at:

More info on USAID's Local Governance Project in Iraq at:

10-15-2007, 01:56 PM
USAID has just come out with a flashy new publication talking about success stories by PRTs in Iraq. The Fall 2007 issue can be found at:


It's strange for me to see the PR effort gearing up now (as opposed to the last 4 years of relative nothing). Perhaps it's part of the exit strategy - see Kilcullen reference below...

Kilcullen in his interview with Charlie Rose, says "The rate at which you build local capacity drives your exit strategy. OK? The faster you can stand up effective forces and effective governance structures, particularly, then the faster you can exit from the campaign." and "I think we need to understand how insurgencies end. They don't end like conventional warfare. You don't defeat the enemy, there's a victory parade and everybody goes home. What you do is drive the threat down to the point at which the local government and society can handle it, and then they handle it."

10-15-2007, 03:33 PM
... I'm listening in too!

05-27-2008, 06:39 PM
WINEP, Apr 08: Provincial Politics in Iraq: Fragmentation or New Awakening? (http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/download.php?file=PolicyFocus81.pdf)

This paper explains how subnational governance works in Iraq, and highlights the issues and options facing Iraqi decisionmakers on the issue of decentralization. This report is being released during a period of intense frustration among Iraqi citizens over the lack of local participation in governance. Overcentralization was the defining characteristic of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq; its counterpart—decentralization—has been a central theme throughout the reconstruction of the country. Yet the promise of formal decentralization never fully matured between 2003 and 2008, and the frustration caused by this unfulfilled promise now threatens to severely strain the cohesion of the fledgling Iraqi democracy.

Provincial powers legislation was approved by Iraq’s national assembly on February 13, 2008, and, after some debate, by the Presidency Council as well. Yet, the issue of decentralization is unlikely to be resolved by one piece of legislation. The Iraqi state is still in need of a formula that can give its diverse provinces and regions sufficient freedom to prosper within the new Iraq. Failure to achieve this could result in the country’s partition into devolved states, the partial or full collapse of centralized governance, or the overcentralization of the Iraqi state under new forms of autocracy.

It should be noted that this paper does not directly deal with the three provinces controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Instead, the paper focuses on the fifteen other Iraqi provinces—the so-called “governorates that are not incorporated into a region”—that were given scanty treatment in the 2005 Iraqi constitution, and have suffered from a dearth of supporting legislation and examination by the policy community.
Complete 52 page paper at the link.

Ron Humphrey
05-27-2008, 07:24 PM
I'm responding to myself, but here's another story along the same lines.

Bureaucratic 'surge' boosts local government
By Steve Negus, Iraq Correspondent
Financial Times
Updated: 5:42 a.m. ET Oct. 1, 2007


Just to busy pestering others to pester you at the moment:wry:

06-25-2008, 11:03 AM
Well, since it looks like I'll be part of a PRT starting in fall 2009 (just got my offer from NEA this morning), I'm all ears as well!

From everything I've read and people I've corresponded with, working at the local level is really the only way to go in a place like Iraq. But with that comes the attendant problems of synching strategies and methods (to an extent).

In terms of building up local capacity as an exit strategy, that certainly makes sense!

(More on this later -- I need to pull myself away from the warm glow of the laptop and start packing - my packout's tomorrow morning. Only two weeks left in KL, a month in NC, and then off to the MFO in the Sinai for a year...)

07-02-2008, 11:54 PM
It's good that the provinces are becoming more active. For too long Baghdad has dictated everything and power should devolve from the capital.

Thanks for the great info.