Baghdad seeks funds to rebuild areas liberated from Daesh

A photo taken on July 9, 2017, shows a general view of the destruction in Mosul's Old City. (AFP)
Updated 09 December 2017
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Baghdad seeks funds to rebuild areas liberated from Daesh

BAGHDAD: The Iraqi government is seeking funds for the reconstruction of areas liberated from Daesh, Iraqi officials and lawmakers told Arab News on Wednesday.
Iraqi security forces, backed by the US-led coalition and Shiite-dominated paramilitary groups, have liberated more than 95 percent of areas formerly held by Daesh.
Iraqi Planning Minister Salman Jumaili, during a meeting with France’s trade minister in Baghdad on Wednesday, said Iraq needs $100 billion over 10 years from 2018 to rebuild affected areas.
The reconstruction plan is “aimed at achieving human, social and economic development, as well as the rehabilitation of infrastructure,” Jumaili said after the meeting.
“Iraq relies on the international community’s support to enable the government to implement its development programs, particularly with regard to reconstruction.”
In liberated areas, Baghdad seeks to maintain security, provide employment opportunities for youths, compensate citizens affected by terrorism or military operations, and build schools and hospitals, Iraqi officials told Arab News.
The EU on Wednesday offered a $71 million grant to finance reconstruction and mine clearance in Anbar, Salahuddin, Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyala provinces, Iraq’s Planning Ministry said.
The US ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman, on Tuesday said his country is working to secure a $115-million international grant to Iraq to finance the reconstruction of liberated areas.
Iraq is working to hold a conference for international donors in February, officials said.
A major challenge facing the Iraqi government is the return of 2.9 million internally displaced people, tens of thousands of whom are living in tents on the outskirts of cities, while others are spread across provinces.
Iraqi lawmakers have complained that the Cabinet has not allocated enough funds in the 2018 budget to bring displaced people back to their homes.
“The allocations offered by the government in the draft budget to bring displaced people back home, reconstruct their areas and maintain stability there aren’t enough,” Hussam Al-Eqabi, a member of the parliamentary finance committee, told Arab News. “We need to discuss details with the government, to amend the budget.”


Thousands protest against Algeria’s ruling elite

Updated 4 min 53 sec ago
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Thousands protest against Algeria’s ruling elite

  • President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down after 20 years in power this month
  • “The system must go” and “We are fed up with you,” read banners held up by protesters in central Algiers

ALGIERS: Thousands of protesters demanding the departure of Algeria’s ruling elite rallied in Algiers for a tenth Friday.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down after 20 years in power this month, bowing to pressure from the army and weeks of demonstrations mainly by young people seeking change.
“The system must go” and “We are fed up with you,” read banners held up by protesters in central Algiers.
The protests, which began on Feb. 22 and have been largely peaceful, have continued as many want the removal of an elite that has governed Algeria since independence from France in 1962 and the prosecution of people they see as corrupt.
Bouteflika has been replaced by Abdelkader Bensalah, head of the upper house of parliament, as interim president for 90 days until a presidential election on July 4.
Algeria’s wealthiest businessman and four other billionaires close to Bouteflika were arrested this week as part of an anti-graft investigation, state media said.
Algeria’s army chief Lt. General Ahmed Gaed Salah has said he expected members of the ruling elite to be prosecuted for corruption.
Salah intervened when Bouteflika sought to extend his fourth term, declaring him unfit for office in a bid to avoid prolonged turmoil.