[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.

dan handelman
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 [11]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 [12]IS is becoming more active across the disputed territories of
    northern Iraq.

    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 streets.

    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, [13]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 chaos.

    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 [14]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
    with customers.

    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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