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Iraq Reconstruction - Introduction

The plan for Iraqi Reconstruction was formulated some time prior to the outbreak of war in Iraq. Reconstruction in Iraq is managed first and foremost by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Department of Defense. USAID works in conjunction with the UN, World Bank, IMF, Coalition partners, NGOs, and the private sector to implement its goals. These goals are listed by USAID as fourfold:

1. Restore essential infrastructure
2. Support essential health and education
3. Expand economic opportunity
4. Improve efficiency and accountability of government

To achieve these goals, USAID has worked on projects to increase olive tree production, rebuild airports and roads, promote free trade, introduce a new currency, and develop water treatment facilities.


In March 2003 coalition forces entered Iraq, forcing an end to the rule of the Ba'athist regime. The resulting conditions for the Iraqi population after the Iraq war was different than what had been speculated in the months leading up to the conflict. An acute humanitarian crisis did not materialize as anticipated. The predicted influx of refugees spilling over into neighboring Kuwait, Jordan and Turkey and the projected degree of internal displacement due to the military campaign by coalition forces simply did not transpire. As a result, emergency preparedness efforts were ultimately applied not towards responding to emergency humanitarian needs due to military action and forced population movement but rather to humanitarian needs resulting from increased civil insecurity, looting and years of neglect, isolation and oppression.

From May 2003 through June 2004, the CPA, led by the United States and the United Kingdom, was the UN-recognized authority responsible for the temporary governance of Iraq and for overseeing, directing, and coordinating the reconstruction effort. In May 2003, the CPA began the process of recreating Iraqi security forces. Multinational force commanders eventually assumed responsibility for recruiting and training Iraqi security forces in their areas of responsibility.

The Department of State is responsible for all U.S. activities in Iraq except security and military operations. State's Iraq Reconstruction and Management Office (IRMO) is responsible for planning and prioritizing reconstruction requirements, monitoring spending, and coordinating with the military commanders. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides engineering and technical services to USAID, State, and military forces in Iraq. In December 2005, the responsibilities of the Project Contracting Office (PCO), a temporary organization were merged with those of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

On June 28, 2004, the CPA transferred power to an interim sovereign Iraqi government, the CPA was officially dissolved, and Iraq's transitional period began. Under Iraq's transitional law, the transitional period included the completion of a draft constitution in October 2005 and two subsequent elections-a referendum on the constitution and an election for a permanent government. The Iraqi people approved the constitution on October 15, 2005, and voted for representatives to the Iraq Council of Representatives on December 15, 2005. The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq certified the election results on February 10, 2006. After much negotiating and many attempts to form a national unity goverment, Nuri al-Maliki was chosen to fill the Prime Minister post and choose a cabinet to be approved by the Council of Representatives. Maliki had taken the post previously occupied temporarily by Ibraham al-Jaafari. On June 8, 2006, Iraq's Council of Representatives approved the final members of Maliki's cabinet.

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