The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has issued its quarterly report to Congress.
Its mostly an auditor type report, so I don’t really recommend reading it. A few highlights however:
The theme of this Quarterly Report, “A Nascent Normalcy: The Evolution of U.S. Assistance to a Sovereign Iraq,” reflects the recognition of a fundamental shift in the U.S. relief and reconstruction effort this year, which SIGIR dubbed in January “The Year of Transfer.” The most salient features of that fundamental shift include:
the rising primacy of Iraq’s capital budget as the chief funding source for further reconstruction, resulting in an appropriate decrease in U.S. assistance; the strengthening of Iraq’s security forces, evident in the recent transfer of security responsibilities in Anbar and Babylon to Iraqi control; the incremental improvement in essential services across Iraq, highlighted by this quarter’s record electricity output; the increased velocity of economic activity prompted by Iraq’s oil revenue windfall, which may soon be tempered by recent rapid declines in world oil prices; the progress of the Maliki government on specific legislative items, most notably the passage of the Provincial Election Law;
But, as General Ray Odierno, the new Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I), recently noted, Iraq “was a failed state [in 2006]. In 2008, it’s a fragile state. We’ve got to move it to a stable state.”1 To sustain progress in this direction, Iraq must improve its provision of security and essential services, such as electricity, potable water, sewage systems, and health care services.
Crude oil production this quarter hit a postwar record, averaging 2.47 million barrels per day (MBPD)206—a 2% increase from the figure reported last quarter and an 18% rise from the same quarter last year. Exports of crude oil averaged 1.73 MBPD—an 8% decrease from last quarter and a 2% decrease from the same quarter last year.
The average output capacity of Iraq’s generation plants to produce electricity over time is a useful measurement of how customers experience power usage. This quarter, output averaged 117,849 megawatt-hours (MWh) per day—an increase of 12% from last quarter and 8% from the same quarter last year.235 On August 8, 2008, production reached 127,511 MWh, a new record for one-day output.236 The U.S. Embassy reports that the Iraqi grid produced about 90,000 MWh per day before the war.