AP Exclusive: Probe halts rebuilding of Iraqi city
AP Exclusive: Corruption probe stymies US efforts to rebuild Iraq and win hearts and minds
CHELSEA J. CARTER
U.S.-funded reconstruction in a one-time Sunni insurgent stronghold has been suspended because of a corruption probe, including allegations that the mayor and police chief were involved in a multimillion-dollar oil smuggling ring, The Associated Press has learned.
The problems in Hit, a dusty, ramshackle western town along the Euphrates River, provide a glimpse of the challenges in rebuilding a country where years of war and misrule have destroyed the social fabric.
Reconstruction is a key part of the U.S. military strategy against both Sunni and Shiite extremists, but many projects have long been dogged by mismanagement and allegations of corruption.
The U.S. government suspended its efforts in Hit this month after the police chief, Col. Salah Rasheed al-Gaoud, was fired for his alleged role in the scheme, U.S. and Iraqi officials familiar with the investigation told the AP............