The U.S. Department of State is advocating the use of the private sector in the rebuilding and reconstruction of Syrian and Iraqi infrastructure in the wake of the war with the Islamic State. Rather than nation building as a government, they believe that privatizing the reformation process will be a far more feasible solution to the problem.
Deputy Secretary John Sullivan expressed his support of the concept while speaking during an event in Washington D.C. put on by the U.S. Institute for Peace. He stated that, “The private sector has tremendous potential to provide meaningful support and engagement in humanitarian responses.” He encouraged the United States government to, “Promote preventative diplomacy and peaceful solutions.” He added that, “We hope that organizations like USIP can help us partner with the private sector to help the vast number of people around the world who are in crises, and to address long-term sustainability challenges. Effective reconstruction is critical to ensuring that ISIS can never return and we are committed to working with our partners in the region to help the government in Iraq rebuild,” and, “The United States is largest single country humanitarian donor for the Syrian response, providing $7.7 billion since the start of the crisis.”
The United States has contributed over $1.7 billion towards humanitarian aid to Iraq since 2014 and has racked up $11 billion in military expenditures while combating the Islamic State. Congress gave the go ahead to spend over $66.7 billion via the Department of Defense, State Department and USAID over the course of 2011 all the way back to 2003. America’s longest running war has cost a fortune not just militarily but also in the reconstruction and maintenance of the regions that it obtains oversight of.
Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider Abadi, attended the reconstruction conference in Kuwait last month where he donated, pledged, and loaned nearly $30 billion. This is almost one third of what he had projected it would cost to rebuild Iraq in the wake of the war with the Islamic State. According to the United States led coalition, “nearly 100 percent,” of the Islamic State has been destroyed or removed from Syria and Iraq. Despite this bold assessment, sleeper cells of extremists continue to attack small villages and security forces in the Kirkuk region as well as in pockets of Syria.
The United States and its allies, some not allies but perusing the same vested interest of eliminating the threat of ISIS all the same, are continuing their efforts to stabilize the region and clean out the remnants of the Islamic State. While they wrap up these military offensive operations and begin to focus on security aspects, the long list of NGOs (non-governmental organization) are standing by alongside private companies to dash in and start their respective projects.
Featured Image Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force