View Full Version : Rice's Rebuilding Plan Hits Snags

01-15-2006, 06:49 AM
15 Jan. Washington Post - Rice's Rebuilding Plan Hits Snags (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/14/AR2006011400994.html).

... The idea centered on establishing Provincial Reconstruction Teams, or PRTs, a tactic promoted in Iraq by the new U.S. ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, who had built similar operations when he was ambassador to Afghanistan. He declared in November that extending a coordinated U.S. presence into the provinces was "a new addition to our strategy for success in Iraq."

Three teams were rapidly established in Mosul, Kirkuk and Hilla, largely because the functional equivalent of consulates -- known in Iraq as regional embassy offices -- were simply relabeled PRTs. But the rollout of the rest of the plan appears uncertain as State and Defense Department officials haggle over a series of tough questions, including how to fund them, how to staff them, how to provide security -- and even whether they help or hinder plans to reduce the U.S. troop presence...

Other officials said, however, that the PRTs have become caught in a crossfire of different priorities. Rice and her aides have felt strongly that civilian officials need to pay greater attention to the provinces, a view that is seconded by military officials in those areas. Establishing the PRTs thus would be part of a counterinsurgency campaign, State Department officials said.

At the same time, the Pentagon is eager to reduce its military footprint in Iraq, making officials wary of a project that could require the deployment of troops on yet another new mission when they are trying to reduce the visibility of U.S. forces and turn over more areas to the Iraqis.

"We don't, at the same time we're doing that, want to be establishing mini-Green Zones in the provincial capitals," said a defense official, referring to the giant, heavily protected headquarters in Baghdad for U.S. government and contracting activities.

Although State Department officials can rattle off specifics about the numbers and types of specialists expected to constitute future PRTs, defense officials said the makeup of the units remains open to question. Two Pentagon officials suggested that each PRT might need to be tailored to its particular province and not every province might warrant one...

One key concern, according to a senior military officer, is whether State can "come up with the right numbers of qualified and experienced folks to source the remaining teams." But State Department officials expressed confidence that staffing will not be a problem, saying Rice has made it a priority...

01-15-2006, 09:40 AM
15 Jan. Los Angeles Times - 'Marshall Plan' for Iraq Fades (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-aid15jan15,0,1402940.story?coll=la-home-headlines).

After more than 2 1/2 years of sputtering reconstruction work, the United States' "Marshall Plan" to rebuild this war-torn country is drawing to a close this year with much of its promise unmet and no plans to extend its funding.

The $18.6 billion approved by Congress in 2003 will be spent by the end of this year, officials here say. Foreign governments have given only a fraction of the billions they pledged two years ago.

With the country still a shambles, U.S. officials are promoting a tough-love vision of reconstruction that puts the burden on the Iraqi people.

"The world is a competitive place," Tom Delare, economics counselor at the U.S. Embassy, said this month during a news briefing. "You have to convince the investor that it is worth his while to put his money in your community."

An embassy spokeswoman later said that the Bush administration was not abandoning the Iraqi reconstruction effort. It "remains committed to helping build Iraq and continues to assess needs on the ground," she said. No decisions on future funding requests have been made, she said.

But embassy and reconstruction officials outlined a program of private investment and fiscal belt-tightening by the new Iraqi government as the long-term solution to the country's woes, even if that causes short-term suffering for Iraq's people...

01-17-2006, 08:07 AM
17 Jan. Washington Post - USAID Paper Details Security Crisis in Iraq (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/16/AR2006011601005.html).

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."...