"Since its release in early December 2006, the Iraq Study Group's (ISG) military, political and diplomatic recommendations have generated wide-spread discussions. Unfortunately, the country's economic recovery has received considerably less attention. Yet the country's economic situation is quite dire. The ISG correctly notes that: (a) instead of meeting a target of 10 percent growth for 2006 only 4 percent was attained, (b) inflation is above 50 percent, (c) estimates of unemployment range from 20 to 60 percent, and (d) foreign investment is less than 1 percent of gross domestic product. In many regards the economic situation today has deteriorated from that under Saddam. In short 'Too many Iraqis do not see tangible improvements in their economic situation.' The importance of reversing the current economic malaise and attaining an acceptable rate of sustained rate of economic growth and improvement in living standards is clear: No political and security progress can be sustained in Iraq unless the Iraqi people experience improvement in their daily lives. This will demand substantial progress on simple tasks like clearing garbage; as well as complex tasks like rebuilding a shattered oil industry and establishing law and order. To achieve these goals, Iraq will need assistance from the United States and other countries that want to prevent a further slide towards chaos. While the Iraq Study Group proposes financial aid to Iraq of around $5 billion per annum to help rectify the situation, it is silent on the best strategies for putting these funds to effective use."
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Strategic Insights (March 2007), v.6 no.2