22 April 2013 (IRIN) - For much of the past decade, Iraqis have cursed about two things: ‘maya’ and ‘kahraba’ - water and electricity.
These are more than petty complaints; they have become a benchmark by which Iraqis judge progress in their country. A recent survey by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) found that 42 percent of 2,000 Iraqis surveyed considered basic services - like water and electricity - among the top two concerns they want the current government to address.
In 2011, more than one-quarter of the population had access to water from the general network for less than two hours a day, and nearly half the population rated the quality of water services in their area as bad or very bad, according to the Iraq Knowledge Network (IKN), a survey of nearly 30,000 households conducted by the Ministry of Planning’s Central Statistics Organization, the Kurdistan Regional Statistics Office and the UN. read more>>>
22 April 2013 (IRIN) - The electricity supply system in Iraq has suffered from decades of neglect and lack of new investment, according to the UN.
It has also suffered from previous wars: the Gulf War, for example, rendered all but two of Iraq’s 20 power-generating plants unoperational, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1991. Six months after the end of the war, Iraq had regained about two-thirds of its pre-war output, the report said, but a decade of sanctions made it difficult to replace spare parts and import supplies for repairs.
By 2003, the government had managed to provide acceptable levels of electricity supply to Baghdad, but other governorates received less than the capital. read more>>>
22 April 2013 (IRIN) - Ten years after US forces took over Iraq, opinions on the progress made are as polarized as ever.
On one side, the Iraqi and American governments argue, the gains have been significant.
“Despite all the problems of the past decade, the overwhelming majority of Iraqis agree that we are better off today than under Saddam’s brutal dictatorship,” Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki wrote in a 9 April opinion piece in the Washington Post, marking 10 years after the fall of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.
Paul Wolfowitz, who served as the US Deputy Secretary of Defence between 2001 and 2005, wrote the same day in Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that given the hardships under Hussein, “it is remarkable that Iraq has done as well as it has thus far.”
Others are more circumspect in evaluating these gains, looking to the 1980s - under Hussein’s rule - as a time when Iraqi society was much further ahead. read more>>>