Wednesday, September 15, 2004


IRAQ – RISING VIOLENCE DELAYS RECONSTRUCTION: Escalating violence caused by an increasingly sophisticated insurgency in Iraq is forcing the Bush administration to "direct nearly $2 billion away from rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure so it could help add more than 80,000 Iraqi security forces to try to stabilize the country." The move, which will siphon funds from Iraqi water, sewer and electricity projects, signals "an admission from the administration that it will be difficult to spend significant sums of money on things that were long ago identified as meeting Iraq's basic needs until the nation's insurgency can be quelled." Including previous reallocations, the administration hopes to redirect more than 20 percent of $18.4 billion in reconstruction funds to cope with security. With two weeks left in the fiscal year, and 11 months after Congress approved the $18.4 billion, "only $1.1 billion of it has been spent, because of attacks, contracting problems and other issues, according to figures released by the State Department."