Thanks to rising oil prices, Iraq will enjoy a $79 billion surplus by the end of the year, according to a report requested by a bipartisan group of senators. While the US has spent $48 billion in American taxpayer money on Iraq's reconstruction since 2005, Iraq has spent only a fraction of its oil revenue on reconstruction projects. And, Iraq spent only 1 percent of its 2005-2007 budget to maintain existing projects already funded by Americans or Iraqis. Thus, preinvasion promises that Iraqi oil money would finance the rebuilding of Iraq have gone unfulfilled.
The Central Bank of Iraq cites a lack of expertise in Iraqi ministries along with security problems as reasons for the lack of spending. There seems to be a vicious cycle: Iraq can't use its money to increase security because there's not enough security.
Congressional Democrats have already called for Iraq to spend its own money on reconstruction. Since the US just predicted a record $489 billion deficit for 2009, hopefully Iraq's windfall surplus will be put to use soon. Should Americans struggling with rising oil prices be frustrated that Iraq is sitting on oil profits while America pays for the reconstruction?