Cor­rup­tion in Iraq

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENT - If you want peo­ple to think well of you, do not speak well of your­self.

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

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