The War's Impact on Iraq
In order to carry out objective research on the impact on Iraq of an eight-year war, it is necessary to have access to both the people and the institutions inside Iraq. Such access has not been possible for several reasons, and the only data available are those of the Iraqi government, the opposition, and Western media. The information from both the government and the opposition is subjective, thus it was used with caution and a critical approach was necessary in quoting it. It has value because it reflects the attitudes of political groups in Iraq. Western media have also reported impressions of journalists who visited Iraq under strict supervision and had access to official data, which formed the basis for their reports. No accurate figures or statistics have been made public by the Iraqi government on the impact of the war on its economy, army, society, and so on.
I discuss the impact of the war in qualitative rather than quantitative terms, and my aim is to highlight how the war affected various institutions and groups in Iraq. This is an objective and realistic assessment of the effects of the war on Iraq, and it does not necessarily coincide fully with any particular model, ideology, or school of thought.
Prewar Iraq had reserves in excess of $35 billion, a massive investment program to develop the infrastructure of industry, a growing skilled labor force, and increasing numbers of professionals. It had an oil- based economy and its main industries were its oil terminals, oil refiner