Ahmed Riyadh is pleased that Mosul Corniche has finally been able to serve its customers in the wholesale market. But four years after the capture of the large Iraqi city by the Islamic State, many are still waiting for its loss, so it regains its former glory.
The scars of the street fighting that stopped Iraqi troops against ISIS are still visible throughout the city, with jihadists building their “capital” in Iraq between 2014 and 2017.
Photographs taken amid the ruins of Pope Francis during his visit in March are a testament to that. On Sunday, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, is expected to arrive in the northern city of the country after attending a regional summit in Baghdad.
In the Corniche market, on the banks of the Tigray, many buildings are still empty, filled with bullet and shell impacts. Roads have been destroyed, but ruins still pile up in sidewalks.
Only a few stalls attract Paris, reminiscent of Mosul’s past.
“Life in our devastated neighborhood gradually began to resume,” says Mr Riyadh, a food vendor, “but we paid for its restoration.”
Of the 400 stalls that were on the market before 2014, “only 10% have resumed their operations,” he stressed.
Ammar Hussein, a restaurant that treats its customers on the side street, is easy to re-stock in the market.
“I save time” and “Prices are reasonable”. But, he added, “the government should provide compensation to the damaged traders so that they can rebuild their stores and the market will regain its old glory”.
– A large sum –
Mahmoud al-Akla, the governor’s director, says about 100,000 compensation claims have been filed in the province of Nineveh (including the capital Mosul) by people wounded during the Iraqi military’s “liberation operations” backed by the International Coalition. Compensation Department.
More than 65,000 files have been reviewed, but only 2,600 applicants have received compensation, he added.
According to official sources, the cost of the reconstruction of Nineveh was $ 100 billion (approximately ப 85 billion). It is estimated to be approximately $ 90 billion (approximately 76 billion euros) by 2021, compared to the Iraqi government’s annual budget.
Due to the very strong centralization of the Iraqi government and the bureaucracy that manages it, supplies are being deceived. According to Mosul District Collector Zuhair al-Araji, the fault lies with the Baghdad Compensation Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Finance.
According to Araji, “80% of infrastructure, such as sewers or roads, has been rebuilt, but only 30 to 40% of health facilities have been rebuilt to date.
– Depression and fatigue –
Chad Ghanem, a resident of Mosul, claims to have sent compensation to his home, which was destroyed a long time ago. “As far as I know, the Nineveh Compensation Department finalized the transaction and then submitted it to the government in Baghdad, which has not yet compensated us,” he explains.
Despite the economic downturn and the social crisis affecting the whole of Iraq, Mosul, largely Sunni, did not wake up during the October 2019 anti-corruption and anti-authoritarian demonstrations, mainly about Shiites in Baghdad and the south of the country. Mosuliyats said he feared the benefits of the reconstruction would go unnoticed.
The slow pace of reconstruction prompted Prime Minister Mustafa al-Qasimi to travel to Mosul on August 16. Two months before the early parliamentary elections, he said he was “sorry” to see the city still suffering from infrastructure problems and announced the formation of a “special committee” to develop an “action plan”.
But in front of his old wooden furniture store in the market, carpenter Ali Mahmoud said he was tired of waiting: “I hope to rebuild my workshop which was my livelihood and return here. But I don’t have enough money. ”