Mosul Reconstruction? What Role for USAID?

Map Northern Iraq

With the re-capture of Ramadi and Fallujah, Iraq it was discovered that there was a lot of humanitarian assistance and reconstruction required. Whether this aid is being delivered effectively is still in doubt. The re-capture of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, will require the same type of assistance but on a larger scale. If the Iraqi government is to gain the support of the citizens of Mosul in a post-Islamic State era it must be prepared to act decisively in the Mosul reconstruction. The United States and international community can assist. But, as MG Eric Olson (Ret) pointed out recently, the battle for Mosul can still be lost if the reconstruction phase is botched.

Stability operations – establishing security, governance, development, rule of law, etc. are difficult to do. Especially within a society with religious and ethnic differences and a government that is both corrupt and that favors one group over another. Despite the United States (and other countries) best efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan for over a decade our performance (or perhaps the outcome) has been less than satisfactory.

Mosul reconstruction will be a huge task. Local police forces will need to secure the city – assisting the Iraqi army. The introduction of Shia militia groups and Iranian influence should be at a minimum. The political designs of the Kurds need to be watched carefully. Governance and public services will have to be quickly re-established.

The principal organization of the United States to assist Iraq in Mosul reconstruction would likely be the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). However, there are some who think that the USAID is not set up correctly for the nation-building (or state-building) necessary to be helpful in ‘liberated Mosul situation’. One of these critics is Max Boot. Read a recent policy paper by him entitled¬†Reconfiguring USAID for State-Building, Council on Foreign Relations, Policy Innovation Memorandum No. 57, June 2016.

About John Friberg 201 Articles
John Friberg is the Editor and Publisher of SOF News. He is a retired Command Chief Warrant Officer (CW5 180A) with 40 years service in the U.S. Army Special Forces with active duty and reserve components.