Corruption in Iraq
IRAQI opposition forces have successfully sought a change in ministries as they expressed their fury at the rampant corruption, the persistently poor state of the economy and the very slow progress in the war against ISIS (Daesh). Thousands of protestors led by Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr had surrounded parliament for days, seeking reforms that would give key portfolios to more independent technocrats to try and stop the rampant corruption that has been a feature of Iraq’s favourled politics in which, ministries are seen as rewards through which leading supporters can offer patronage to their clients.
As he wrestles with this political crisis, Al Abadi is struggling with a precarious balancing act as he tries to clamp down on the corruption of his political allies who are powerful political players with vested interests. Yet, he knows he has to act in order to stop the economy from becoming even worse. The lower oil prices have had a disastrous effect on government finances as the post-war economy has not had proper government management and has relied on easy oil revenues to cover up its inadequacies. By focusing on corruption and governance, Al Sadr has picked an issue with which many Iraqis would agree, but it is also designed to make the government look weak to his eventual political advantage. The confusion has certainly distracted the government from the ongoing war against Daesh forces, which still rule about a third of the country in the west and north after almost two years, despite losing some key cities, such as Tiqrit and Ramadi, to government forces. The international coalition against Daesh was quick to take action to support the government, but only the Iraqi government can send in the ground troops necessary to end the war. And it needs to move more quickly. — Gulf News