Iraq faces a catastrophic health crisis this summer and years of rebuilding its civilian economy, The New York Times reported Monday.
Quoting Bush administration analysts, the Times said 80 percent of Iraq's power grid is out of service, and shortages are aggravating a crisis in health care.The analysts also described Iraq's civilian telecommunications system as a total loss. And the 43-day allied bombardment seriously damaged the national network of road and bridges, crippling commerce, the newspaper reported.
The Times said the country's oil production - which drives Iraq's economy - requires an infusion of about $1.5 billion in cash to get its export pipelines going at pre-war levels.
In addition, Iraq may not be able to maintain its gasoline production without Western technology, spare parts and expertise in the near-term, the newspaper said. Because of the international trade sanctions imposed after the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq has been unable to import urgently needed equipment and has not sold a cargo of oil, its prinicipal source of income, since August.
The Times said Iraq's patchwork of short-term fixes and remedies will deteroriate in the months ahead if the Bush administration maintains trade sanctions - an effort to force Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power.