Because of Saddam and America, Iraq reaps years of nepotism and corruption by losing the foundation of the state
Fri, 06-25-2021,PM 5:12 Karar Al Asadi 308
The American "Carnegie" Institute for Research painted a bleak picture of the collapse of agriculture in Iraq due to corruption and nepotism, after it was one of the pillars of agriculture in the world, before it was plagued by food insecurity due to years of war.
Historically, Iraq had one of the most fertile and suitable lands for agriculture in the world, as agriculture constituted more than 18% of the country’s economic output in 1995,
but during the past thirty years, agriculture has lost its main role in the economy and has fallen victim to decades-long conflicts, and by the In 2019, agriculture accounted for only 2% of the size of the economy in Iraq, according to a report by the American Institute translated by Shafaq News.
The report pointed out that "the decline of the agricultural sector in Iraq began with the effects of those close to the authority and the systematic corruption arising from the armed conflicts in the late eighties and early twenty-first century, which caused these bad effects, that is, many years before the formation of ISIS and its entry into Iraq."
Iraq-Iran war الحرب
According to "Carnegie", "the Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988) drove thousands of farmers from their agricultural fields to the battle fronts, which constituted the first blow to Iraqi agriculture."
He added that "Saddam Hussein's privatization of state-owned industries, including agricultural factories producing wheat, barley rice, dates and cotton, was an attempt to revive this sector, but this process granted ownership of food production factories to a limited number of families."
The US report considered that the patronage structure established in Iraq for the benefit of the elite “allowed them to engage in business activities that seek quick profit at the expense of food sustainability in the long term,” noting that
“in the early nineties of the last century, poorly planned irrigation projects in Iraq led to A massive drain on water sources.
The report continued, "Iraq used to produce about one million tons of dates, which represented 75% of global consumption before 1980, but Saddam Hussein's neglect of agriculture and the widespread destruction of trees reduced date production in half with the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988."
Iraq after 2003
The report also considered that “the US invasion led to the disruption and strengthening of these patronage networks,” noting that
“the 2003 war period witnessed the re-emergence of the beneficiaries from Iraq, within a new American model, as the armed militias allied with the Americans set up checkpoints and smuggling routes.” oil and food products.
In post-2003 Iraq, the United States considered that “the existing state bourgeois networks are incompatible with its state-building project, and sought to dismantle them.
He pointed out that "under Saddam's dual regime, which combines the role of the state and liberalism, the production of seeds and fertilizers remained in the hands of small state-owned companies and managed by families, which accelerated food insecurity after the 2003 war."
He continued, "The reconstruction in Iraq after 2003 witnessed the awarding of state contracts to key figures in the Iraqi Governing Council, and they benefited from the strong relationships that linked them with Pentagon officials.
As an example, a businessman is a business partner of the Iraqi National Congress President Ahmed Chalabi, On contracts worth $80 million to provide guard and security for the country's oil fields.
The report concluded that "the policies led by the United States and applied with Iraqi companies inadvertently pushed small agricultural enterprises out of the market, and also significantly deprived farmers of their rights."
He pointed out that "the United States has reflected the same image of nepotism as it was during the era of Saddam Hussein, through the reconstruction contracts that it approved and granted to close allies."
As a result, according to the Carnegie Institution, "the agricultural market today suffers from underdevelopment and the exclusion of smaller players."
He stressed that "after more than 15 years of war, huge funds have failed to achieve tangible results for long-term political stability in Iraq, which is still fraught with civil unrest and food insecurity."
In addressing what happened in the Kurdistan region, "Carnegie" stated that "after the invasion of ISIS in 2014, the majority of farmers were denied access to their lands, and they migrated to urban centers."
In the outskirts of Mosul, ISIS-affiliated war exploitation networks sold nearly 40 percent of farm machinery to farmers and destroyed the rest.
At the national level, the report noted, "The ISIS invasion has reduced the agricultural production capacity in Iraq by at least 40%."
The Carnegie report concluded by saying that preventing the entrenchment of the prevailing nepotism should be one of the main considerations in the political discussions regarding the reconstruction processes in Iraq, warning at the same time against leaving "elements of nepotism unchecked, as this will destroy the prospects of state building."