For Immediate Release
December 7, 2005
Fact Sheet: Rebuilding Iraq
National Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Today's Presidential Action:
To Defeat The Enemy, The United States Is Helping Iraqis Rebuild. Over the
course of this war, the Coalition has learned that winning the battle for
Iraqi cities is only a first step. The Coalition has adjusted to win the
"battle after the battle" by helping Iraqis consolidate their gains and
keep the terrorists from returning.
Iraqi Forces Are Securing Cities, Allowing For Targeted Reconstruction. As
steady training produces more capable Iraqi Security Forces, those forces
have been able to better hold onto the cities Iraqi and Coalition forces
cleared together. With help from Coalition military and civilian
personnel, the Iraqi government can then work with local leaders and
residents to begin reconstruction - with Iraqis leading the building
efforts and the Coalition playing a supporting role. This approach is
working in cities like Najaf and Mosul.
Iraqi And Coalition Forces Have Cleared And Are Holding The City Of Najaf.
Ninety miles south of Baghdad, Najaf is home to one of Shia Islam's holiest
places - the Imam Ali Shrine. As a predominantly Shia city, Najaf suffered
greatly during Saddam's regime. About a year after U.S. troops liberated
the city, it fell under the sway of a radical and violent militia.
Fighting damaged homes and businesses, and the local economy collapsed as
visitors and pilgrims stopped coming to the shrine out of fear for their
lives. In the summer of 2004, the Iraqi government and Coalition decided
to retake control of the city. Iraqi and Coalition forces rooted out the
militia in tough, urban fighting. Together with the Iraqi government and
the Shia clerical community, we forced the militia to abandon the shrine
and return it to legitimate Iraqi authority. The militia committed to
disarm and leave Najaf.
As Soon As The Fighting In Najaf Ended, Targeted Reconstruction Moved
Forward. The Iraqi government played an active role, and so did our
military commanders, diplomats, and workers from the U.S. Agency for
International Development. Together, they worked with Najaf's governor and
other local officials to rebuild the local police force, repair residents'
homes, refurbish schools, restore water and other essential services, and
reopen a soccer stadium. Fifteen months later, new businesses and markets
have opened in some of Najaf's poorest areas, religious pilgrims are
visiting the city again, and construction jobs are putting local residents
back to work. One of the largest projects was the rebuilding of the Najaf
Teaching Hospital, which had been looted and turned into a military
fortress by the militia. Thanks to efforts by Iraqi doctors and local
leaders, with the help of American personnel, the hospital is now open and
capable of serving hundreds of patients each day.
Najaf Has Made Tremendous Progress. Najaf is now in the hands of elected
government officials. An elected provincial council is at work drafting
plans to bring more tourism and commerce to the city. Political life has
returned, and campaigns for the upcoming elections have begun, with
different parties competing for votes. The Iraqi police are now
responsible for day-to-day security. An Iraqi battalion has assumed
control of the former American military base, and American forces are now
about 40 minutes outside the city. There is still plenty of work to be
done. Sustaining electric power remains a major challenge, and
construction has begun on three new substations to help boost capacity. To
address a clean water shortage, new water treatment and sewage units are
being installed. Security has improved dramatically, but threats remain.
Local leaders and Iraqi Security Forces are working to resolve these
problems - and Americans are helping.
Iraqi And American Forces Have Cleared And Are Holding The City Of Mosul.
Mosul is one of Iraq's largest cities and home to a diverse population of
Sunni Arabs, Kurds, and other ethnic groups. It was here that American
troops brought justice to Saddam's sons in the summer of 2003. Mosul was
relatively quiet in the months after liberation, and American forces began
to redeploy elsewhere in the country. Then, the enemy infiltrated the
city, and by late last year, they had gained control of much of Mosul.
American and Iraqi forces responded with a series of coordinated strikes on
the most dangerous parts of the city and killed, captured, and cleared out
many of the terrorists and Saddamists. Over time, the Iraqi police and
legitimate political leaders regained control. As Iraqis have grown in
strength and ability, they have taken more responsibility for the city's
security, and Coalition forces have moved into a supporting role.
After The Security Situation Improved, Reconstruction Accelerated. Local
Iraqi leaders, with Coalition support, upgraded key roads and bridges over
the Tigris River, rebuilt schools and hospitals, and started refurbishing
the Mosul Airport. Police stations and firehouses were rebuilt, and Iraqis
have made major improvements in the city's water and sewage network. But
real challenges still remain. Because the city is not receiving enough
electricity, Iraqis have a major new project underway to expand the Mosul
power substation. Terrorist intimidation is still a concern, but turnout
for the October referendum was over 50 percent in the province where Mosul
is located - more than triple the turnout in the January election.
With Progress, Serious Challenges Are Being Addressed. Corruption exists
at both the national and local levels of the Iraqi government. Fraud will
not be tolerated, so the American Embassy in Baghdad is helping to demand
transparency and accountability for the money being invested in
reconstruction. Another problem is the infiltration of militia groups into
the Iraqi Security Forces - especially the Iraqi police. We are helping
Iraqis deal with this problem by embedding Coalition transition teams in
Iraqi units to mentor police and soldiers. In a free Iraq, former militia
members must shift their loyalty to the national government and learn to
operate under the rule of law.
The United States Is Working With Iraq's Leaders To Build A Sound Economy
That Will Deliver A Better Life For Iraqis. Iraq is a nation with the
potential for tremendous prosperity. The country has a young and educated
workforce, abundant land and water, and among the largest oil resources in
the world. Yet for decades, Saddam Hussein used Iraq's wealth to enrich
himself and a privileged few and neglected the country's infrastructure and
economy. The Coalition is helping the new Iraqi government reverse decades
of economic destruction, reinvigorate its economy, and make responsible
reforms. With Coalition help, the Iraqis are rebuilding infrastructure and
establishing the institutions of a market economy. The entrepreneurial
spirit is strong. A free Iraq will be built by the free people of Iraq -
and the United States is proud to help.
Reconstruction Efforts Are Focused On Local Projects That Deliver Rapid And
Noticeable Improvements. The Coalition's approach to helping Iraqis rebuild
has changed and improved with time. When the reconstruction process was
first begun in the spring of 2003, the focus was on building large-scale
infrastructure - such as electrical plants and water treatment facilities.
This approach was not meeting the priorities of the Iraqi people. In many
places, the most urgent needs were smaller, localized projects like sewer
lines and city roads. In consultation with the Iraqi government, resources
started to be used to fund smaller, local projects that could deliver
rapid, noticeable improvements. American military commanders were given
more money for flexible use, and the Coalition worked with Iraqi leaders to
provide more contracts to Iraqi firms. By adapting reconstruction efforts,
the United States is now better able to help Iraqi leaders serve their
Together, Iraqis And Americans Are Making Progress. Reconstruction has not
always gone as well as hoped - primarily because of the security
challenges. Rebuilding a nation devastated by a dictator is a large
undertaking - even harder when terrorists attempt to destroy gains. Yet,
in the space of two and a half years, the United States has helped Iraqis
conduct nearly 3,000 renovation projects at schools, train more than 30,000
teachers, distribute more than 8 million textbooks, rebuild irrigation
infrastructure to help more than 400,000 rural Iraqis, and improve drinking
water for more than 3 million people. The Coalition has helped Iraqis
introduce a new currency, reopen their stock exchange, and extend $21
million in micro-credit and small business loans. As a result of these
efforts and Iraq's newfound freedom, more than 30,000 new Iraqi businesses
have registered since liberation, and according to a recent survey, more
than three-quarters of Iraqi business owners anticipate growth in the
economy over the next two years. This economic development and growth will
be key to addressing the high unemployment rate across many parts of the
country. In addition, Iraqis have negotiated significant debt relief and
completed an economic report card with the International Monetary Fund - a
signal that Iraqis are serious about reform.
Victory In Iraq
The United States Will Settle For Nothing Less Than Complete Victory In
Iraq. Withdrawing on an artificial deadline would endanger the American
people, harm our military, and make the Middle East less stable. It would
also give the terrorists exactly what they want. The al-Qaida leader
Zawahiri recently wrote to the terrorist Zarqawi in Iraq, and he cited the
Vietnam War as a reason to believe the terrorists can prevail. The
terrorists think they can make America run in Iraq; the terrorists hope
America will withdraw before the job is done - so they can take over the
country and turn it into a base for future attacks. America will not yield
the future of Iraq to men like Zarqawi, nor will it yield the future of the
Middle East to men like bin Laden.
Building Democracy In Iraq Will Establish A Peaceful Civil Society That Is
An Ally In The War On Terror. Free societies are peaceful societies, and
democracies do not attack each other. Free nations give their citizens a
path to resolve their differences peacefully through the democratic
process. Democracy can be difficult, complicated, and even chaotic.
Iraqis have to overcome many challenges, including longstanding ethnic and
religious tensions, and the legacy of decades of brutal repression. But
they are learning that democracy is the only way to build a just and
peaceful society - because it is the only system that gives every citizen a
voice in determining their future.
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