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February 15, 2018

Iraq says war with Islamic State killed 18,000


February 15, 2018

KUWAIT: Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim-al-Jafari said on Wednesday 18,000 people had been killed and 36,000 wounded in the war with the Islamic State militant group since 2014.

Billions of dollars have been pledged at a donor conference for Iraq’s reconstruction after the country’s devastating war with the Islamic State group, though the amounts announced so far still fall short of the 88.2 billion US dollars Baghdad is seeking.

The biggest pledge at the gathering in Kuwait came from Turkey, which announced five billion dollars in credit to Iraq, while Kuwait’s ruling emir said his oil-rich nation will give one billion dollars in loans and one billion in direct investments.

Saudi Arabia pledged 1.5 billion dollars while the Kuwait-based Arab Fund says Iraq will receive 1.5 billion dollars in infrastructure aid in coming years. Qatar, which is embroiled in a diplomatic crisis with a quartet of Arab nations led by Riyadh, pledged one billion dollars.

The United Arab Emirates pledged 500 million, as did the Islamic Development Bank. Germany pledged 500 million euros (617 million dollars) and the European Union 400 million euros (494 million dollars).

The United States, which has been embroiled in Iraq since its 2003 invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, did not directly give at the conference on Wednesday in Kuwait City. However, it plans to offer over three billion dollars in loans and other financing to help American firms invest in Iraq.

Kuwait’s donation particularly was in many ways stunning as only a generation ago, Saddam Hussein invaded the small, oil-rich nation.

The donation by Kuwait’s ruling emir, the 88-year-old Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, showed the deep interest his nation has in making sure Iraq becomes a peaceful, stable country after the war against IS. Iraq also still owes Kuwait reparations from Saddam’s 1990 invasion that sparked the 1991 US-led Gulf War.

“This large assembly of international communities that are here today is reflective of the large loss that Iraq withstood in facing terrorism,” Sheikh Sabah said. “Iraq cannot commence the mission of rebuilding itself without support, which is why we are all here today from all around the world, to stand by Iraq’s side.”

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