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Blogwatch

February 26, 2009
Corruption, deprivation and faulty infrastructure plague Iraq

Electricity is still a problem in Iraq.

Despite a reduction in violence and democratic elections in Iraq, the U.S. Department of State’s recently-released report on conditions in Iraq throughout 2008 stated that there is “widespread, severe corruption at all levels of government.”

Officials in the Iraqi government have embezzled an estimated $18 billion in American aid. On Monday, a dozen policemen were arrested in connection with a series of killings and kidnappings.

Nearly six years after the war began, Iraq still has many infrastructure problems, dealing with little electricity. Bloggers across Iraq describe the legacies of war in Iraq and discuss the state of its fledgling democracy.

Mohammed, an Iraqi dentist who has decided to take his pregnant wife to Jordan for delivery, describes the country’s decayed health sector:

I wish there is a person to blame or specific side to throw the blame on but unfortunately there are countless sides and people to throw the blame on…it’s all about corruption, decades of falling behind the medical developments, physicians and doctors with little medical ethics who will have high ethics when they leave Iraq, doctors who are really bad in their job but holds important positions because they are from a specific political party or they know “people”, sectarian violence, gangs working under the mask of religion, people with agenda of brain-killing Iraq…and the list goes on.

[…]About two months ago we applied for a visa to Jordan. Thank god we got it, we got the visa and we were approved for entering Jordan, I still can’t believe that this is possible; us getting to Jordan so that my wife could have a natural delivery with good medical care and overcome the medical disasters here.

Another blogger, IraqPundit, agrees that continued squabbling and corruption has deprived Iraqis of basic services:

Much like the rest of Iraq, the people of Basra want electricity, water, and they want the garbage to be collected. It’s clear the religious parties failed the people. Perhaps Iraqis will vote for new politicians who will actually provide basic services.

[…]My own family in Baghdad are indeed frustrated with the lack of services. But they don’t blame democracy, they blame the religious parties and corrupt politicians, and the terrorists who bombed electrical facilities promptly after they were repaired. Sure there was more water and electricity during Saddam Hussein’s era, but not that much more. If it was so great, why did we have all those generators?

The “Life is a Scrapbook” blog says that small-scale corruption and bribery is a part of daily life in Iraq:

It’s not called corruption, it’s called the cost of doing business. Recently a new regular style gas station opened near our brigade headquarters and not long after it did, the brigade commander’s personal security detachment roughed up a lot of the black market gasoline vendors and dumped their gas on the street. This action was within their legal right since the stands are illeal but was it a coincidence? New gas station opens; the local authority, the Army General, then roughs up the illegal vendors that had been ignored previously, add in that a week later the illegal vendors where back in full force. Do you think that there might have been some kick backs from both sets of gasoline vendors? I’m not saying there was, I just find it interesting […] there might have been some money changing hands.

A journalist with NBC’s “World Blog” describes Iraqi war widows:

I recently visited the Iraqi Tourism Board to see some old friends and contacts. I went in smiling because I hadn’t been there for while and was excited to see my old friends, but the place had an eerie feel to it. It looked darker – and it was. In every room, when I popped in my head to say hello, there were women dressed in black from head to toe.

As a cup of coffee was placed in front of me, my curiosity finally got the better of me. I asked if a colleague had died or something? A woman covered in black responded, “They killed my husband and burned my home. So we moved to a Sunni neighborhood; stress and grief killed my mother a week later.”

I turned my head to the woman next to her and she said, “They killed my brother in front of his wife and children…just because he is Shiite living in a Sunni neighborhood.”

The smile I had on my face when I arrived was long gone. I actually felt ashamed that I had a smile on my face to start with. So, I chugged down my coffee and quickly left.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user michaelramallah under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments

8 comments

#8

18 billions dollars of American aid ?
One thinks US are there for oil and everyone
is helping themselves in the New Iraq !

#7

[…] have seemed like peace in comparison. It’s not exactly as free a country as you seem to believe. Corruption, deprivation and faulty infrastructure plague Iraq | Worldfocus That’s the kind of problems that happen when a country is invaded and there’s no real plan for […]

#6

[…] Jilani at Think Progress adds some Truth medicine to Mr. Pickens’ public projectile vomiting: “Unfortunately for […]

#5

[…] a corrupt government represents […]

#4

Its so pitiful to see the corruption going on in Iraq after the money, lives lost, and destruction that nation has suffered to no end near.

#3

Sandra (comment #1), what more can they say about Gaza? “How many times must a cannon ball fly … before they are forever band?” I have not even heard Bob Dylan comment on Gaza. Was his last name Zimmerman? Just kidding!

Seriously, a situation exist in the “holy land” that has no solution until we realize all land is holy and all humanity is a single family. You see Sandra; we all have the same dogmatic coloring of our attitudes, it is just different colors (Gaza – green, Isreal – blue, Bush – red, etc). We can’t figure out how to free our narrow ways of thinking. So why should we expect news agencies to spend so much time on a common malady when we all refuse to take the pill of universalism to kill the virus. Without unrestricted compassion, the drama goes on.

#2

Sandra (comment #1), what more can they say about Gaza? “How many times must a cannon ball fly … before they are forever band?” I have not even heard Bob Dylan comment on Gaza. Was his last name Zimmerman? Just kidding!

Seriously, a situation exist in the “holy land” that has no solution until we realize all land is holy and all humanity is a single family. You see Sandra; we all have the same dogmatic coloring of our attitudes it is just different colors (Gaza – green, Isreal – blue, Bush – red, etc). We can’t figure out how to free our narrow ways of thinking. So why show we expect news agencies to spend so much time on a common malady when we all refuse to take the pill of universalism to kill the virus. Without unrestricted compassion, the drama goes on.

#1

What happened to the coverage on Gaza? I’m not going to bother watching this program any more–I was only watching it to monitor how it compared to BBC and mainstream networks. It’s gotten worse and worse from hard news to boring analysis by conservative think-tank people. At first at least there was more coverage of Gaza, now looks like your in the hands of Israeli propoganda ministers and blacking out coverage of humanitarian crisis in Gaza. If Iraq is in bad shape it’s thanks to the U.S. and U.S. war contractors.

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