Perched atop a mound of rubble, Abdelsattar al-Hibbu surveyed what remained of his second-floor office: twisted iron and centuries-old stone reduced to dust by an airstrike.
“I used to look out at the river from my window,” Hibbu said wistfully, recalling how the nine-month battle that defeated Islamic State militants in Mosul last year destroyed tens of thousands of buildings. “Now look at it.”
Hibbu is the municipality chief of Mosul and faces the titanic task of rebuilding Iraq’s second largest city from the ruins of war. It is a mega-project that could take years and require billions of dollars – yet his administration is strapped for cash.