Officially, the scope and length of US obligations to Iraq following the war remains in flux, governed by treaties and agreements between the US and Iraqi governments. Part of the focus on Iraqi reconstruction has been on redeveloping damaged infrastructure–power stations, water pumping facilities and other installations that are necessary to get electric power, clean drinking water and the necessities of life to Iraqi people. The other major part of the focus, which has played out in the world press for the last several years, is administrative and strategic: figuring out how Iraq can provide its own security against terrorists and insurgents, and how it can protect its government. Little thought has been given specifically to the environmental rehabilitation of Iraq. However, as Iraq recovers from the war–and it will probably be decades in recovery–environmental issues, I believe, will become more important, for instance, how to make Iraq’s oil infrastructure more efficient, and how those efforts will play out against the larger canvas of fossil fuel use and production in the world given global warming and push toward renewable energy. Likely much of our efforts in this realm will be less dependent on specific governmental obligations to Iraq, and more by private investment opportunities from Western firms. That’s how much of the Iraqi reconstruction has already been accomplished.
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