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75 4 The Democracy Mission With the Anglo-American intervention in Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, the nature of external aid to the Kurdish quasistate changed in important ways. Foreign assistance no longer centered on the traditional delivery of goods and services but on capacity building and long-term development. It also recognized the KRG as a legitimate political entity in a federal Iraq, with rights and revenues provided in a new Iraqi constitution. This shift was integrally tied to international politics and U.S. interests in post-Saddam Iraq, which focused on controlling Iraqi petroleum markets, winning the “war on terror,” reconstructing the country, and establishing a western-friendly regime based on liberal democratic norms (Carapico 2002, 379). Greater external patronage and international support, alongside patterns of disintegration in the rest of the country, strengthened the Kurdish quasi-state’s internal sovereignty and political leverage in the country. The Kurds became power-brokers in Baghdad, as well as commercial negotiators with regional states and foreign governments. Development processes also had unintended consequences on the Kurdistan Region; a more complex political economy encouraged cleavages within Kurdish society and new forms of mobilization and opposition. Reconstructing One Iraq As in the first two relief periods, humanitarian assistance played a key role in supporting immediate postwar recovery and rehabilitation in the Kurdistan Region. After 2003, INGOs and foreign governments provided vital relief aid to vulnerable populations, including the swelling refugee and IDP communities. They rebuilt more schools, constructed additional clinics, and supplied necessary food items to local populations. External aid programs reinforced existing civil- 76 | The Kurdish Quasi-State society–building efforts, such as training workshops for youth, human rights campaigns, and technical assistance based on anticorruption, violence against women, and civic education. Yet the particular nature of the third phase of external aid created distinct opportunities and development outcomes for the Kurdistan Region that were unavailable in the earlier phases. For one, the size and scope of the aid program increased exponentially, with the U.S. government assuming the largest proportion of the reconstruction responsibilities and expenses. After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’athist regime, the U.S. government became an occupying force in Iraq, and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) (April 2003–June 2004), headed by L. Paul Bremer III, assumed responsibility for implementing U.S. policies and programs (Katzman 2005, 17).1 The American government financed Iraqi reconstruction with an initial allocation by the U.S. Congress of about US$18.6 billion. Additional pools of revenues became available : U.S. Congressional supplemental allocations, CPA funds, the Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP), and the Commander’s Humanitarian Relief and Reconstruction Projects (CHHRP) (UNICEF 2004, 66–67; UNSAI 2004, 16; Tarnoff 2004, 2–8, 18; Katzman 2005, 17, 30–43; Sharp and Blanchard 2005, 1).2 U.S. agencies—the Department of Defense, the State Department, the Department of the Treasury, and the USAID—had their own budgets, administrative procedures, and conditionalities, adding to the size of revenues and the complexity of U.S. funding processes. The U.S. government’s financial stake in post-Saddam Iraq was driven by its strategic interests in reviving and securing access to petroleum and gas resources in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Seas, controlling expenditures of Iraqi oil, managing lucrative reconstruction contracts, and liberalizing the Iraqi economy as a 1. In April 2003 Lt. General Jay Garner (ret.) was appointed head of the Department of Defense’s Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance to direct reconstruction and advise Iraqi ministries. He was replaced by L. Paul Bremer III one month later. 2. Interview with Harry Shute, former commander of the 404th Civil Affairs Battalion, U.S. Army and current advisor to the KRG, Arbil, June 12, 2007. The CERP and CHHRP were DOD funds and considered as “walking-around money” for small reconstruction projects at the village level. In 2004 the total CERP funds in Iraq were about US$549 million, and CHHRP funds were about US$86 million. The latter included some allocations in the Kurdistan Region. The Democracy Mission | 77 meansofpromotingfreeenterpriseanddevelopment.Underlyingtheseobjectives was the Bush administration’s belief that a U.S.-allied Iraqi regime could serve as an alternative to Saudi Arabia as a strategic supplier of petroleum and undermine Arab regimes and Iran (Looney 2003a, 576–77; Alkadiri and Mohamedi 2003, 21). The post-Saddam aid program also had a normative component. It was devised around values and efforts of the American...


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