Identification and Evaluation
To what extent has foreign influence by the United states following their occupation in Iraq affected Iraq socially and economically? On March 19th 2003, the United States declared war on Iraq. Their reason was to overthrow the government under Saddam Hussein. The war lasted 8 years, 8 months, and 28 days. It ended on December 18th 2011. The United States was able to successfully overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein, but the impact of war in Iraq left some monumental adversity.
My main source for economically came from the New York Times.
The article is titled “Economic View: War cut Iraq’s national income 40%” It was created by Anna Bernasek in 2006 while in Iraq. The origin of this source has both value and limitation. This source has a limitation in its origin because Bernasek does not specifically include which parts of Iraq’s economy accounted for such a drop. The value is because the writer has multiple years of experience in journalism, the article has been shared on various social platforms and received good reviews, and it was written in the midst of the war.
There is value and limitations of the source’s purpose. This source has value in its purpose because the information is factual, objective, it gives you on the scene information and it helps me support my question for one of my scope areas which is economically. This Source has a limitation in its purpose because Bernasek does not go in depth of background information before she gets into the topic by not introducing what led into the problem in the first place.
A stable economy is one of the most important things to have to maintain functionality in a country. War can ruin that. This begins with income. Bernasek tells us “Total war costs amount to at least 40 percent of Iraq’s national income.” (Bernasek, Economic View: War cut Iraq’s national income 40%). It creates things like unemployment. Unemployment and low incomes created an environment in Iraq where children can’t attend school. This causes future generations tasked to have the economy stable, lacking those skills. Bernasek states again, “If there had been no war, Iraq’s economy in 2005 would have amounted to 61 billion dollars compared to it’s 37 million.” (Bernasek, Economic View).
This leads to detrimental problems. That drop amounted to an average loss of 9000 dollars per Iraqi. The drops in national income due to the war also affected something Iraq is very reliant on. Oil. Hadi Mizban says in her article, “Although oil contributes heavily to Iraq’s gross domestic product, the country does not have the capacity to refine enough oil to meet it’s electricity needs and now use 9.5 percent hydroelectric and 56.2 percent gas. Back in 2003 they used 98 percent oil.” (Mizban, Iraq 10 years on: In numbers). One of the main obstacles to Iraq’s economic development is it’s lack of reliable electricity. Now that they don’t have money to refine enough oil, they must depend heavily on gas. The IEA (International Energy Agency) estimates 35% of oil produced in 2012 was flared or burned off.
That means that it was wasteful, given the continuing shortfall in electricity supply in Iraq. Mizban again tells us “Iraq is the world’s third largest oil exporter with 3.6 million barrels of oil. Output before the US-led invasion was about 2.8 million barrels a day” (Mizban, Iraq 10 years on: In numbers). The problem is, how is Iraq going to be able to maintain this? They will continue to get poorer! They rely so much on oil. They need it for electricity and to keep them from becoming the poorest country on earth. This problem now forces them to find a way to manage how they will distribute the oil, but before the war, this was not a problem.
Lastly, this piece of evidence shows just how badly the United States occupation affected Iraq’s economy. “The Iraqi economy has been grossly distorted by its reliance on petroleum income which has been subject to massive corruption and mismanagement in an economy that has been unable to execute any consistent form of development since, and where, Iraq’s economy is dominated by the oil sector, which provides more than 90% of government revenue and 80% of foreign exchange earnings.” (Cordesman, Trends in Irai Violence).
What this evidence tells us is that the most basic assumption behind their operation—that global oil demand will continue to outpace world petroleum supplies and ensure high prices into the foreseeable future—no longer holds. Instead, in what for any petro-state is a upside-down version of that model, supply, not demand, is forging ahead, leaving the market flooded with fossil fuels. The United States occupation in Iraq surely left a misleading impression about the oil industry in Iraq. At the same time, the United States had to privatise some of Iraq’s oil production to help them avoid some of the facts they faced socially, which is the next topic. With the evidence given we can clearly see to what extent foreign influence by the United States following their occupation in Iraq, affected Iraq economically.
Another place where the U.S. affected Iraq was socially. Joshua Holland’s article “War and Peace” gives us support for that. “The U.S. destroyed that Iraqi national identity and replaced it with sectarian and ethnic identities after 2003” (Holland, War and Peace). This sectarian strife is demolishing the country, and it definitely began with the United States’ occupation. Then Harith Al-Qarawee tells us “internal divides have been reinforced by the repercussions of the Arab Spring, especially the effects of the Sunni uprising against the Syrian regime and the reinforcement of transnational sectarianism.” (Al-Qarawee, Iraq’s sectarian crisis: A Legacy of Exclusion). Following the United States’ occupation, violence and tensions have been provoked with various denominations. From this we can come to the conflict and see that Iraq needs a social compact based more on the citizens. All the insurgencies within the Iraqi community started following the U.S.’ occupation in 2003.
Another way the U.S’ occupation affected Iraq socially has to do with the same concept of sectarian identities. James Paul wrote in his article “Beginning in 2006, sectarian clashes worsened and inter-communal violence led to rising death and injury, as well as massive new displacement.” (Paul, Iraq’s Humanitarian crisis). There was no bond between people and too many secretaries, innocent people lost their lives. But now some of those same people have lost certain opportunities they once could have had with them being in a place they are unfamiliar with. “About 2.3 million Iraqis fled the country. Also, 2.7 million people were internally displaced in 2008.” (Thompson, What the Iraqi people think of our war against their nation).
These numbers tell us there were, and still are, an insanely amount of people being removed from their homes against their will. Displaced people have no choice than to start their lives all over again, especially if their livelihoods depended on their previous location. When they are unable to get enough capital to start all over again, they tend to wallow in poverty. Families won’t be able to take care of their children, which will definitely lead to school dropouts; child delinquency such as teen pregnancy, prostitution, robbery and illegal economic activities. However, there is even more saddening reality due to U.S. influence. Orkideh Behrouzan wrote “A 2011 estimate reported that there were 4.5 million Iraqi orphans, 70 percent of whom lost their parents following the 2003 occupation.” (Behrouzan, The psychological impact of the Iraq war).
During the war, millions of lives of innocent lives were taken because the war sometimes spilled out of war grounds. Unfortunately a majority those lives happened to be the parents of children! The devastating fact is that this means an entire generation of kids in Iraq will never know their parents or never see them again. That scenario forms a public health emergency, challenging supplies for permanent physical and psychological care. This gives Iraq, a very blurry future. Holland tells us “After 2003, Iraq was not a happy place to live, but was home to millions of people. They had basic needs but could not express themselves politically… after 2003, people still could not express themselves politically and they lost all of the security they used to have and all of the basic services.” (Holland, War and Peace.) All the security they lost, led to violence in neighborhoods concerning secularism. This in depth analysis clearly shows to what extent the United States’ occupation in Iraq, affected Iraq socially.
This wasn’t as bad as it seemed. I am glad I gained this knowledge. Also i’m proud of what i’ve accomplished. I don’t think I have ever written a paper this long. The research I needed to do for this paper was intense! Finding evidence was difficult. But even harder than that was to analyze how it tied back to U.S. influence. Another area where I had difficulty at first was the topic to choose. I chose this topic for a variety of reasons. Number one, I could find more information on it than any of the other topics. That was because it happened recently. This helps historians because they would already have prior knowledge on the event making us not completely blind to the task. That finalizes my opinion on the research aspect. In terms of the content, it is very detailed. I’m happy I finished this paper and now I know to the extent the United States’ occupation in Iraq affected Iraq economically and socially.
Bernasek, Anna. “Economic View: War Cut Iraq’s National Income 40%.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Oct. 2006, www.nytimes.com/2006/10/24/business/worldbusiness/24iht-iraqcon.3267268.html.
Holland, Joshua. “War and Peace.” Billmoyers.com, Moyer and Company, 20 June 2014, billmoyers.com/2014/06/20/an-iraqi-perspective-how-americans-destruction-of-iraqi-society-led-to-todays-chaos
Behrouzan, Orkideh. “The Psychological Impact of the Iraq War.” Foreign Policy, Foreign Policy, 23 Apr. 2013, foreignpolicy.com/2013/04/23/the-psychological-impact-of-the-iraq-war/.
@MarkThompson_DC, Mark Thompson. “What the Iraqi People Think of Our War Against Their Nation.” Time, Time, 22 June 2011, nation.time.com/2011/06/22/what-the-iraqi-people-think-of-our-war-against-their-nation/.
Paul , James. “Iraq’s Humanitarian Crisis.” GPF, Global Policy Forum, 2007, www.globalpolicy.org/humanitarian-issues-in-iraq/consequences-of-the-war-and-occupation-of-iraq/35742.html.
Mizban, Hadi. “Iraq 10 Years on: In Numbers.” BBC News, BBC, 20 Mar. 2013, www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-21752819.
Al-Qarawee, Harith Hasan. “Iraq’s Sectarian Crisis: A Legacy of Exclusion.” Carnegie Middle East Center, pp. 1–34.