Rebuilding Efforts in Iraq
Posted by Winnie Melda on January 7th, 2019
The war in Iraq ended but the country has a long way to go before it can regain its full operational capacity. Humanitarian organizations play a critical role in assisting in the reconstruction of a nation. The war in Iraq may have ended Saddam Hussein’s regime, crippled the threat of terrorism and eliminated the threat of weapons of mass destructions but it left the nation destroyed. The economy of the nation collapsed as infrastructures were destroyed during the war. The war left the Iraqis in desperate need of humanitarian intervention so as to survive. Humanitarian organizations that desire to operate in Iraq and assist in the rebuilding efforts must explore the opportunities and challenges of the region.
Topics to Explore
Security Status of Iraq
The American government and its allies may have withdrawn its troops from Iraq, but the overall security of the country remains questionable. Armed violence among sectarian groups remains high. Moreover, car bombs, roadside bombs, suicide bombs and assassinations still occur. There is also a rise of militias and criminal gangs that terrorize the public. The militias and terror groups have infiltrated the security forces of the country thus making it difficult to identify and eliminate them (Moslehi, & Karami, 2015). The provision of humanitarian assistance means that the humanitarian organization has to send its personnel on the ground. An unstable nation such as Iraq requires the consideration of the overall security of the personnel as well as the existing apparatus that may provide the service. Humanitarian personnel often face the risk of kidnapping, shooting and beheading by militias and fractions that are sometimes beyond the government’s control.
Humanitarian organizations also need to consider the extent of government participation in the development of national unity. Since the ousting of Saddam Hussein, Iraq has not had a stable government; the existing government has been unable to demonstrate that it has an effective ministerial structure as well as the ability to govern many of its regions. The government operates in a restricted environment and with restricted resources thus impeding its ability to deliver effective services. Moreover, factors such as a high turnover of government officials and the loss of staff due to the fleeing of Iraqis from volatile areas have paralyzed most of the functions in the country.
The government of Iraq has been making efforts to stabilize and reconstruct the nations despite its declining economy and overall instability. The government has access to a funding mechanism that can be injected into the construction initiatives of the country. For instance, the International reconstructions Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI) and the International Compact for Iraq (2007) were established with the intent to assist in the reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Humanitarian organizations can liaise with such organization to plan an effective way of assisting the reconstruction process (Moslehi, & Karami, 2015).
Ethnocentric challenges occur when one group or culture feels superior to the other. The determination of superiority occurs by religion, culture, race or ethnicity. A country such as America considers itself a powerful nation thus its tendency to participate in the affairs of other nations. The main ethnocentric challenge that humanitarian organization may experience is the introduction of its ideologies to the people of Iraq. Iraq and America are different countries in many facets including ideologies of governance and administration. Conflict may occur in agreeing on the forms of governance and laws that are suitable for the administration of the Iraqis. For instance, America may suggest democracy and the creation of a democratic government, but the Iraqi people may be used to a liberal form of government. The Iraqi may feel that the American government, through the humanitarian organization is imposing its ideologies on the nation. Humanitarian organizations must realize that the interest of the Iraqi people must come first to avoid the risk of a Saddam Hussein regime in the future.
Another ethnocentric challenge is the presence of Shiite militias which have a parallel form of governance in Iraq. The militias have vigilante groups that operate across different cities in Iraq. The vigilante group carries out orders to attack anyone that threatens the people of Iraq. The power and autonomy of the Shiite militias challenge the creation of a less sectarian form of governance for the Iraqis. The Shiite militia takes advantage of their numbers as the Shiite population forms approximately 70% of the Iraqi population (Kirpatrck, 2014).
Questions to Consider
Are there any cultural considerations?
Humanitarian organizations must consider the culture and practices of a country they intend to settle. Conflicting cultural practice can result in conflict thus inhibit the delivery of humanitarian services where it is needed. Iraq is a nation guided by Islam thus the nations adheres to Islamic Sharia laws. There are hurdles expected in areas such as educating the girl-child (Lensu, 2003). Extremists still deny the girl-child the opportunity to get an education thus the risk of aggression if a humanitarian organization strives to educate the girl child The organization must also consider the cultural practices that dictate dressing and relations across the sexes.
Is there a need for humanitarian intervention?
Humanitarian organizations must evaluate a country and determine its need for humanitarian intervention. In Iraq, the need for humanitarian intervention is dire as the public has difficulties accessing necessities such as water and food. Access to healthcare services is also critical as most hospitals, and health care facilities were looted and or destroyed during the war. The education sector was also affected adversely as teachers and pupils fled the war. Moreover, most schools were turned to shelters for displaced persons. Humanitarian organizations also need to address the refugee situations as Iraqis left their homes and sought refuge in neighboring communities.
What are the legal frameworks of operating in Iraq?
Legislation on the operations of humanitarian organizations have always made it difficult for humanitarian organizations to thrive in Iraq. Most Non-governmental organizations considered the legislation laws too restrictive. Donor and grant-making organizations require that humanitarian organizations obtain registration before they receive any funding. Iraq has temporary registrations rules but lacks the legal framework to support the rules. The lack of a legal framework means that the registrations rules are subjected to frequent unnecessary changes that make it difficult for humanitarian organizations to meet donor requirements. In a violent and unstable environment like Iraq, humanitarian organizations need to establish themselves as legitimate so that trusts between the government and the humanitarian personnel is built. Unfortunately, trust continues to lack as cases of tortured, and arrested aid workers continue to rise (Kravits, & O’Molloy, 2014).
Humanitarian organizations are still needed in Iraq as the nation tries to re-establish itself after years of war. The invasion of American forces and its allies left the nation in destruction and the public in dire need of basic needs for their survival. However, the entry into Iraq must be well planned for with consideration of factors and challenges that the humanitarian organization may encounter. The organization must review the security status of the country and establish the safety standards for humanitarian workers in the country. The organizations must also determine the level of governance and whether there are apparatus to support the humanitarian initiative. The humanitarian organizations must also look at the potential funding they might receive while in Iraq.
Kirkpatrick, D. (2014). Shiite militias pose challenges for the US in Iraq. The New York Times.
Kravits, D. & O’Molloy, C. (2014). Risky business: aid workers in danger. Retrieved from https://www.devex.com/news/a-risky-business-aid-workers-in-danger-84373
Lensu, M. (2003). Respect for culture and customs in international humanitarian assistance. London school of law and political science
Moslehi, S., & Karami, S. (2015). The Challenges and Recommendations of Accessing to Affected Population for Humanitarian Assistance: A Narrative Review. Global journal of health science, 7(3), 111
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About the AuthorWinnie Melda
Joined: December 7th, 2017
Articles Posted: 364
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