When Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in western Mosul to declare its liberation from the Islamic State, he was surrounded by mountains of rubble and shattered stone—all that remains of the majority of the once-great city.
Rebuilding Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, will require many years, many billions of dollars, and deep coordination between government agencies and international partners like the United Nations Development Program or the German NGO Rebuild Iraq Recruitment Program, which support various reconstruction efforts. If lessons from the past are any indication, the reconstruction will be stymied by economic troubles, corruption, mismanagement, security problems, and the sheer scale of the destruction itself.
The longer the reconstruction is delayed, the harder and costlier it will become. This will have a serious impact on the fates of millions of people, Iraq’s economy, and its future stability, and may well lay the groundwork the creation of future militant uprisings.