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Breakfast Thursday, 27 March, 2003, 06:11 GMT
Who will rebuild Iraq?
British Royal Marines hand out aid in Umm Qasr
Royal Marines from 42 commando deliver food parcels
After an unexpectedly tough battle for Iraq's only deep sea port of Umm Qasr, the first major food aid shipments to Iraq have now been delayed by the threat of mines.

The food aid - 500 tonnes of water, sugar and grain - is desperately needed by Iraqi civilians.

But the British ship carrying it, the Sir Galahad, won't be able to dock at Umm Qasr until at least tomorrow (Friday) because mines have been detected in its path.

The aid is a vital first step on the road to Iraq's reconstruction - a subject which Tony Blair and George Bush will be discussing in their Washington summit today

  • So, how do you re-build Iraq?

  • The Afghan example

    Breakfast's Graham Satchell looked at how reconstruction is progressing in Afghanistan, just a year after American forces overthrew the hated Taleban regime there.

    What he found was a gap between promises and reality, when it comes to aid.

  • Should the UN get involved?

    We debated the issues with a former UN Under Secretary General Dame Margaret Anstee and Oxfam's Paul Mylrea.

    "It's essential that the UN is there, " Dame Margaret told us. "The UN has an enormous wealth of experience in the field."

    Lady Margaret Anstee
    Anstee: the UN is essential
    Paul Mylrea added: "The Iraqis have not welcomed the troops with open arms.

    "This is a country with very educated people such as doctors and engineers - they have to be involved. That means we need something with international legitimacy.

    "It will be tough to get this through the UN but we have to do it."


    The future running of Iraq will be high on the agenda when The Prime Minister Tony Blair meets President Bush on Thursday.

    Central to the discussions is the role the United Nations will play in a post-war Iraq.

    British Marine giving sweets to Iraqi children
    The first humanitarian aid arrives in Umm Qasr
    UN resolution

    Britain is pushing for a new UN resolution - it wants the Security Council to oversee a post Saddam regime. But the United States does not want the countries that did not back the war - France, Germany and Russia - to have a say in how the country is run.

    It is widely thought that the US has an 'administration in waiting' poised to take over the running of the country while US firms get on with the reconstruction work.

    Aid organisations

    If the UN isn't involved in the process, then it is thought highly likely that many of the aid organisations will refuse to give their support and there is a real fear that Iraq could be abandoned and left without the long term help needed to rebuild.

    Comparisons are made with Afghanistan where reconstruction has not happened because aid agencies say money that was promised by the international community never arrived.

    Another alternative for Iraq could be the resumption of the oil for food programme which would allow the country to sell some of its oil in order to buy food and other essential supplies.

    Cost of aid

    On Tuesday President Bush announced that nearly $75 bn would be set aside to fight the war, yet only $2.4bn has initially been allocated for rebuilding and 'early' relief; the long term cost will be considerably higher.

    Should the UN be involved in reconstruction?
    Breakfast debates the choices open to Bush and Blair
    Has aid worked in Afghanistan?
    Breakfast's Graham Satchell examines the reconstruction gap
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    26 Mar 03 | Middle East
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