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Why the US should continue funding democracy and governance programs in Iraq

Iraq, April 29, 2014

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Beza Tesfaye

Atlantic Council
April, 2014

While US policymakers shift away from Iraq, recent events threaten to plunge that country into a new civil war. Sectarian conflict has become a source of chronic tragedy: So far this year, terrorist attacks and bombings have killed over 2,000 civilians. As Iraqis head to the polls in the first election to be held since US troops withdrew in 2011, many fear the rising tide of conflict will undo the democratic gains of recent years.

Unfortunately, US commitment to Iraq continues to flag. Earlier this year when the Obama administration released its much anticipated international affairs budget request for fiscal year 2015, Iraq was among the biggest losers, slated to receive only $23 million in US development aid—a 69 percent reduction from FY 2013. By 2015, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Iraq plans to end all programs in the country.