[pjw] NEWS: Iraqis slowly rebuild Mosul, with little aid from (Iraqi) government (AP 12/9)
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Sun Dec 13 14:46:43 EST 2020
Iraq Affinity Group supporters
We created this project of Peace and Justice Works when the group formed
in 1992. Part of the point has always been to never forget the harms done
by the United States toward the people of Iraq. It appears that the
Associated Press doesn't want to contemplate that concept in this piece
talking about how the Iraqi government hasn't helped the people of Mosul
rebuild. There are two mentions of the "US-led coalition" in the article,
but nobody seems to wonder why the US, which pounded the city into rubble,
isn't paying reparations to the Iraqi people.
It's just new outrages all the time as we approach the 30th (!!!????)
anniversary of the "Gulf War" that started on Jan. 16, 1991....
We're sure to talk about this at our meeting tomorrow night.
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
Iraqis slowly rebuild Mosul, with little aid from government
By SAMYA KULLAB December 9, 2020 GMT
MOSUL, Iraq (AP) ? Anan Yasoun rebuilt her home with yellow cement
slabs amid the rubble of Mosul, a brightly colored manifestation of
resilience in a city that for many remains synonymous with the Islamic
State group?s reign of terror.
In the three years since Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition,
liberated Mosul from the militants, Yasoun painstakingly saved money
that her husband earned from carting vegetables in the city. They had
just enough to restore the walls of their destroyed home; money for the
floors was a gift from her dying father, the roof a loan that is still
Yasoun didn?t even mind the bright yellow exterior ? paint donated by a
relative. ?I just wanted a house,? said the 40-year-old mother of two.
The mounds of debris around her bear witness to the violence Iraq?s
second-largest city has endured. From Mosul, IS had proclaimed its
caliphate in 2014. Three years later, Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led
coalition liberated the city in a grueling battle that killed thousands
and left Mosul in ruins.
Such resilience is apparent elsewhere in the city, at a time when
Baghdad?s cash-strapped government fails to fund reconstruction efforts
and IS is becoming more active across the disputed territories of
Life is slowly coming back to Mosul these days: merchants are busy in
their shops, local musicians again serenade small, enthralled crowds.
At night, the city lights gleam as restaurant patrons spill out onto
The U.N. has estimated that over 8,000 Mosul homes were destroyed in
intense airstrikes to root out IS. The nine-month operation left at
least 9,000 dead, according to an AP investigation.
Memories of the group?s brutality still haunt locals, who remember a
time when the city squares were used for the public beheading of those
who dared violate the militants? rules.
The Old City on the west bank of the Tigris River, once the jewel of
Mosul, remains in ruins even as newer parts of the city have seen a
cautious recovery. The revival, the residents say, is mostly their own
?I didn?t see a single dollar from the government,? said Ahmed Sarhan,
who runs a family coffee business.
Antique coffee pots, called dallahs, line the entrance to his shop,
which has been trading coffee for 120 years. An aging mortar and
pestle, used by Sarhan?s forefathers to grind beans, sits in his office
as evidence of his family?s storied past.
?After the liberation, it was complete chaos. No one had any money. The
economy was zero,? he said. His business raked in a measly 50,000 Iraqi
dinars a day, or around $40. Now, he makes closer to about $2,500.
But even as Sarhan and other merchants are starting to see profits ?
despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic ? ordinary laborers are
struggling. Sarhan employs 28 workers, each getting about $8 a day.
?It is nothing ... they will never be able to rebuild their homes,? he
Since the ouster of IS in 2017, the task of rebuilding Mosul has been
painfully slow. Delays have been caused by lack of coherent governance
at the provincial level; the governor of Nineveh province, which
includes Mosul, has been replaced three times since liberation.
With no central authority to coordinate, a tangled web of entities
overseeing reconstruction work ? from the local, provincial and federal
government to international organizations and aid groups ? has added to
The government has made progress on larger infrastructure projects and
restored basic services to the city, but much remains unfinished.
Funds earmarked for reconstruction by the World Bank were diverted to
help the federal government fight the coronavirus as state coffers
dwindled with plunging oil prices. Meanwhile, at least 16,000 Mosul
residents appealed for government cash assistance to rebuild their
Only 2,000 received financial assistance, said Zuhair al-Araji, the
mayor of Mosul district.
?There?s no money,? he said. ?They have to rebuild on their own.?
Mosul residents eye government policies with suspicion and suspect
local officials are too corrupt to help them.
?Whatever funds are provided, they will steal it,? said Ammar Mouwfaq,
who spent all his savings to re-open his soap shop in the city last
A photo of his father hangs inside the shop, which he took over in the
1970s. Neat stacks of the region?s famous olive oil soap, imported from
the Syrian city of Aleppo, tower above him.
?What you see now, I did alone,? he added.
On one thoroughfare the ruins of cinemas bombed by IS ? the militant
group?s strict interpretation of Islam banned such forms of
entertainment ? are a stark contrast to the shops and restaurants abuzz
The Old City, with its labyrinth of narrow streets dating back to the
Middle Ages, now serves as an eerie museum of IS horrors. Misshapen
iron rods jut out of what?s left of houses they were designed to
fortify. Smashed pieces of alabaster stone and masonry, once extolled
by historians for architectural significance, lie among the debris.
Signs of a former life ? a pair of women?s shoes, a notebook covered in
hearts, shells from exploded ammunition ? are untouched.
?Demolition is forbidden? reads a graffiti written on a slab of wall
surrounded by rubble, a testament to Mosul?s unwavering dark humor.
The Mosul Museum, where IS militants filmed themselves smashing
priceless antiquities to dust, partially re-opened in January. But
apart from occasional contemporary art exhibits such as that of Iraqi
sculptor Omer Qais last month, there is nothing to see.
On the other side of town, Sarhan, the coffee trader, invites anyone
who cares to see his collection of antique swords, plates and bowls he
painstakingly hunted down. In the 12th century, Mosul was an important
hub for trade; a century later, its intricate metalwork rose to
?This is our history,? said Sarhan, holding up a rusting bronze plate,
engraved with 1202, the year it was made.
?If I don?t protect it, who will??
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