IMF Provides Silver Lining to Iraq Debate
The International Monetary Fund offered a silver lining to the otherwise scathing barrage of reports out last week critical of the U.S. experiment in Iraq. The IMF said oil production for 2013 should increase roughly 10 percent from last year to 3.3 million bpd. Meanwhile, economic growth for the year should stay strong at 9 percent for the year. The 10-year U.S. military engagement accomplished little in terms of grand political achievements or internal stability. But if economic progress is any benchmark, then Iraq could be on the right path, relatively speaking, despite medium-term challenges.
The United States declared war on Iraq 10 years ago last Wednesday. Former U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said last week that the policymakers involved in the decision to go to war “certainly did not exercise critical thinking.” For the Brookings Institution, the cost of “an unwarranted” war was 100,000 dead Iraqis, 4.5 million refugees and the near-elimination of some religious minorities. Martin Kobler, U.N. special envoy to Iraq, said there are very challenging times ahead as the country struggles to cope with political stalemates, mounting opposition to the nation’s leaders, terrorist attacks and strained relationships between Baghdad and the Kurdish governments. The Syrian war, meanwhile, has the “very real potential” to spill across the border.