WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense has taken steps toward tackling the issue of unemployment in Iraq, which some believe is fueling violence in the country.
A Pentagon task force has been working to resurrect nearly 200 factories abandoned after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 in the hopes of employing tens of thousands of Iraqis, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Unemployment, which has reached 70 percent in some areas, has been cited by Defense officials and military commanders as a major reason that some Iraqis accept money from insurgents to commit violent acts against U.S. troops and join sectarian armies.
Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the U.S. Army's chief field commander in Iraq, said the move to fight unemployment is overdue and will do more to stabilize the country than sending more troops to the country or increasing the aggressiveness of offensives.
"We need to put the angry young men to work," Chiarelli told the Post. "One of the key hindrances to us establishing stability in Iraq is the failure to get the economy going. A relatively small decrease in unemployment would have a very serious effect on the level of sectarian killing going on."