Iraq To Sell Off Oil Rights To Fund Anti-ISIS War

REUTERS/Essam Al-Sudani

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali Al-Luaibi plans on opening up 9 separate oil and gas fields to international bidding to fund the ongoing war against the Islamic State, the Associated Press reports.

Iraq relies on oil revenues to fund approximately 95 percent of its total budget. The fall of oil and gas prices in 2015 crippled the government’s administrative abilities and spawned widespread cuts in government salaries. The shock to administrative abilities came at the exact same time as the initial phases of the campaign against ISIS began.

Iraq now faces the daunting prospect of administering territory recently seized from ISIS. Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared victory over the terrorist group in the city of Mosul on Monday, marking the end of a nearly year long military campaign. The Iraqi government and the U.S. anti-ISIS coalition now face the daunting prospect of reconstructing the almost entirely demolished western half of the city and preventing the rise of another jihadist group in the aftermath.

Experts generally agree ISIS’s roots trace back to isolation of Sunnis, the demoralization and corruption of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and what turned into fertile ground for ISIS’s initial rise — both diplomatically and militarily. A key part of the Iraqi government’s plan to rebuild Mosul and other territory effected by ISIS focuses on re-establishing security and fair distribution of resources.

The U.S. led anti-ISIS coalition will assist the Iraqi Security Forces in establishing security, and other international bodies are expected to fund reconstruction efforts. Abadi expects total reconstruction of post-ISIS Anbar province to cost nearly $50 billion dollars, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Reuters in March.

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