Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Iraq Fact Check: Responding To Key Myths

  • Iraq Fact Check: Responding To Key Myths

    MYTH: The Iraqi Government is sitting on billions of dollars in oil profits while the American people pay for reconstruction and security costs in Iraq.

    FACT: The Iraqi government is taking over reconstruction funding – Iraq's 2008 budget for large-scale reconstruction projects exceeds that proposed by the U.S. by more than 10 to 1 and the U.S. military expects that Iraq will soon cover 100 percent of such expenses.

    Since 2003, the Government of Iraq (GoI) has appropriated $85 billion for reconstruction and security costs. The U.S. appropriated $50 billion and has not appropriated any funds for major reconstruction since 2005.

    The U.N. and U.S. are focused on providing Iraqis with technical assistance to keep Iraq's economy growing and improve budget execution.

    The GoI increased its budgets across the board in 2008 – a base budget followed by a supplemental passed in August of this year brought the total to $72 billion, a substantial increase from 2007's $41 billion. The capitol budget which pays for reconstruction projects increased to $21 billion.

    FACT: Iraq's security ministries will pay for more than 80 percent of the annual cost of the Iraqi military and police under the 2008 budget.

  • Last week, the GoI took over responsibility for paying the salaries of about 51,000 Sons of Iraq serving in the Baghdad area.

    · FACT: The GoI's budget execution has picked up in 2008 – the total GoI expenditure through June 2008 was $19 billion, compared to $10 billion through the same period last year.

    · FACT: The GoI does not have $79 billion from oil profits sitting in the bank. Iraq's year-end surplus for 2008 is expected to be about $30 billion. Combined with the previous 3 years, the surplus is expected to be about $60 billion.

    MYTH: Iraq has made little progress on the political front.

    · FACT: Since September 2007, Iraq's parliament has passed significant legislation dealing with reconciliation and nation building, including:
    Ø A Provincial Elections Law enabling elections to be held in Iraq before January 31, 2009.
    Ø A pension law
    Ø De-Ba'athification reform
    Ø An amnesty law
    Ø A provincial powers law
    Ø A 2008 budget and a supplemental budget that includes record amounts for capital and security expenditures

    · FACT: Recently passed legislation is already having an affect – Iraqis held under detention for non-series crimes have been released under the Amnesty law.

    · FACT: The national government is sharing oil revenues with provinces despite the absence of a hydrocarbon and revenue-sharing law.

    · FACT: Iraq's neighbors are re-establishing diplomatic relations – Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, and the League of Arab States have all named Ambassador's to Iraq. The U.A.E. became the first Arab nation to post its Ambassador to Baghdad and give 100 percent debt relief to Iraq of approximately $7 billion.

    · FACT: Regional leaders are traveling to Iraq to pursue productive dialogue – Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, King Abdullah of Jordan, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit have all visited Baghdad.

Source: Office of Public Liaison - Military Affairs -

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