Rural Development, Food Security and Political Stability in Iraq (RUDEFOPOS-IRAQ) is a project that is funded by a Marie Curie grant of the European Commission. It analyzes current challenges of food security in Iraq, opinions about such challenges among Iraqi academics and experts and the history of the multilateral UN embargo against Iraq in the 1990s based on Iraqi archival sources.
Rural development and food security are crucial for Iraqi economic development and political stability but have received relatively little attention in comparison to other aspects of Iraq’s domestic political economy and its international relations like oil and hard security issues.
RUDEFOPOS-IRAQ assesses what role food security and rural development have played in the politics of current and former regimes in Iraq, how such politics have played out in the prevalent networks of patronage and rent distribution and how they have affected international relations of the country, most notably during the Oil-for-Food Program episode of the 1990s and in the hydropolitics with Turkey and Syria.
Iraq is the only country in the Middle East of which domestic archives exist. The archives of the Iraqi government and the Baath party were brought to the US after 2003 and are now at the National Defense University in Washington and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. RUDEFOPOS-IRAQ takes advantage of these exceptional archives in addition to newspaper sources, data by international organizations, grey material, a survey and interviews. It then links back its specific findings with the existing literature about Iraq’s political economy and international relations in general.
In particular RUDEFOPOS-IRAQ
a) Analyzes the current process of regime transformation and the role of RUDEFOPOS in it
b) Gives an overview of agricultural and food trade policies since the 1950s when economic planning and oil windfalls began
c) Gives the first account of the Oil for Food sanctions based on Iraqi sources
d) Analyzes the Iraqi stance in hydropolitics along Euphrates and Tigris
e) Analyzes Iraqi expert opinions about food security based on a survey
f) Derives a scenario analysis of risks and opportunities and gives policy recommendations based on a)-e)