Iraq needs serious reform, not another ill-fated revolution

Iraq needs serious reform, not another ill-fated revolution

Since early October, Baghdad and parts of southern Iraq have been racked by the most significant protests of the post-Saddam era. A generation of young Iraqis who grew up after Saddam’s regime appears to have lost patience with a corrupt status quo. Lack of jobs, lack of basic services, lack of adequate living conditions, and lack of future prospects give them little to lose. A heavy handed response against the protestors that has killed nearly 300 over the past few weeks seems to only enrage them more.

Their basic demands differ only a little from those of Arab Spring protests of a few years ago. Although Iraqis live under a real electoral democratic system, unlike Egyptians or Tunisians in the time of the Ben Ali regime, their elected officials appear incapable of delivering anything more than corruption and state paralysis. For similar reasons and under a similar system, protestors in nearby Lebanon express a similar end of patience for such a status quo.

The protestors in Iraq appear overwhelmingly to be poor Shiites. They blame Iran and its heavy hand in Iraq for much of their problems, despite their shared Shiite identity. The protestors regularly attack buildings and facilities owned by Iran and its Iraqi Shiite militia proxies. They call for an end to sectarianism in Iraq, which many believe serves as a cover for corrupt sectarian leaders to win elections and then divide the country’s wealth between them.

Exhausted from the war against ISIS and still under heavy suspicion by the government, Sunni Arabs in places like Mosul and Anbar have, in contrast, not taken to the streets. Few doubt their sympathy towards the Baghdadi and southern protestors’ rhetoric and demands, however. The very emergence of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq stemmed in large part from the same kind of grievances.

In Kurdistan, the “other Iraq” remains quiet. With better infrastructure, an electricity grid that works, more jobs and relatively much improved services, the autonomous Regional Government bought itself more breathing room than authorities in Baghdad. Although Kurdistan’s people also complain of corruption, insufficient public services and what amounts to Iraqi Kurdistan’s own version of sectarian divisions (between the KDP and PUK), these problems remain much less serious than in the rest of Iraq.

If the protestors in the rest of Iraq retain a good idea of what they want – jobs, infrastructure, services, and clean government – how to get it seems much less clear. Calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi, new elections, a new constitution and a change of the current political system to turn it into a presidential one have been made. Unfortunately, none of these demands seem likely to improve things. In many cases, they will likely make the situation worse.

In office for little more than a year, Abdul-Mahdi is hardly responsible for Iraq’s current problems. Compared to Iraq’s previous prime ministers, he actually seems more sincere in his desire to fix the country’s ills and reconcile Iraq’s various sectarian communities. Kurdish leaders in Erbil regularly praise the new prime minister’s willingness to work with them to address Iraq’s long-standing problems and build new, durable solutions. He has also offered the protestors tangible things to help, including a basic income supplement, more jobs, cuts to salaries of high-ranking government officials, and reshuffling of his cabinet. A different prime minister will likely prove worse rather than better.

If efforts to change the overall political system lead to a new constitution and the election of a president instead of a prime minister, problems will only worsen further. A new constitution and a presidential system will undoubtedly centralize power, and most Middle Eastern countries – particularly Iraq – have played this record too many times before. Protestors decrying corruption must remain careful not to trade democratic rights for an equally corrupt centralized authoritarianism.

Although such nuances may escape many of the angry young people on the streets, demanding that elected officials actually respect and observe the current constitution would go a lot further towards fixing Iraq’s problems. The current law of the land provides for things like independent courts, a bicameral legislature, independent auditing commissions and similar mechanisms to reign in government malfeasance. Most of these were eviscerated under the long running mismanagement of ex-prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

While calling for an end to Iranian domination of Iraq stands out as a reasonable and necessary demand of the protestors, Iraqis need to effect such a change in the next election by voting for parties and leaders who do not serve Iran’s interests over that of Iraqis. In the meantime, protestors might consider accepting Abdul-Mahdi’s offers and giving him a chance to enact them. Iraq needs serious reform rather than another ill-fated revolution.

David Romano has been a Rudaw columnist since 2010. He holds the Thomas G. Strong Professor of Middle East Politics at Missouri State University and is the author of numerous publications on the Kurds and the Middle East.

Rudaw.net

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Iraq needs serious reform, not another ill-fated revolution

BGG ~ If you would like to buy Dinar  – Call us, leave a voicemail, send a text (615-509-6256 – anytime), an e-mail or FB message us. These all work.

We have Dinar – Our Current Price is $975 per million.

www.TheDinarExchange.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

Sentencing of director of a government bank damaged public money by 13 billion dinars

Sentencing of director of a government bank damaged public money by 13 billion dinars

Sentencing of director of a government bank damaged public money by 13 billion dinarsThe Integrity Commission announced on Thursday the details of the verdict against the former branch manager of Al-Rasheed Bank for deliberately causing damage to public funds of around 13 billion dinars.

The FBI’s Investigations Department pointed out that the fugitive convict was formerly the head of the main branch of Al-Rasheed Bank and that he had agreed with other defendants to disperse their cases by deliberately damaging the money and interests of the entity. Where he was working through the organization of transactions for housing loans (one hundred salaries) transactions and non-fundamentalist holdings and incorrect support and contrary to the reality of the salary of the borrower. ”

She added that “(2298) transactions were organized for the housing loan with holdings and non-fundamentalist support,” pointing out that “the amount of damage caused by the accused public money amounted to 12 billion and 700 million dinars.”

She explained that “the court of Rusafa Criminal Court on issues of integrity reached sufficient conviction to criminalize the convict, after reviewing the statements of the legal representative of the Bank of Rasheed, who requested the complaint against the accused for the embezzlement of large amounts of money, and the ongoing administrative investigation in the Ministry of Finance, including the defendant’s defendant, in addition to the minutes of the investigation committee The author of the Office of the Inspector General of the Ministry of Finance and the wife of the convicted escape, pointing out that “he was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in accordance with the provisions of Article (340) of the Penal Code.”

The decision included issuing an arrest warrant and investigating the convicted person while confirming the seizure of his movable and immovable property.

Alsumaria.tv

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sentencing of director of a government bank damaged public money by 13 billion dinars

Abdul Mahdi: We must go to achieve the legitimate demands politically and economically

Abdul Mahdi: We must go to achieve the legitimate demands politically and economically

BAGHDAD / NINA / Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said that the legitimate demands of the demonstrators must be met politically and economically.

Ninanews.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Abdul Mahdi: We must go to achieve the legitimate demands politically and economically

Abdul Mahdi: the Iraqi government will not resign without a “smooth and rapid” alternative

Abdul Mahdi: the Iraqi government will not resign without a “smooth and rapid” alternative

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday his government would not respond to demonstrators’ demands to resign without a “smooth and swift” alternative.

Abdul-Mahdi’s speech came during a speech at the weekly cabinet meeting broadcast on state television.

“There are legitimate demands for the resignation of the government but this cannot be achieved without a smooth and swift alternative,” said Abdul Mahdi, who has been facing an unprecedented crisis since taking office a year ago.

He warned that “the resignation of the government will leave a vacuum in the country deepens the problems as the caretaker government is constrained by the authorities and can not pass the financial budget and make the required reforms.”

He stressed that he did not cling to power and was ready to leave office immediately if political forces agreed on an alternative.

Abdul-Mahdi noted that the resignation of his government would leave the fate of the country unknown.

Since October 25, Iraq has witnessed a new wave of anti-government protests , the second of its kind after two weeks before.

Alquds.co.uk

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Abdul Mahdi: the Iraqi government will not resign without a “smooth and rapid” alternative

US Response to Ongoing Violence in Iraq

Image may contain: text

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on US Response to Ongoing Violence in Iraq

America issues a strong stance to the Iraqi government and political leaders on the protests

America issues a strong stance to the Iraqi government and political leaders on the protests

The United States government on Wednesday called on the federal government and Iraqi political leaders to “react urgently” and “seriously” to the demands of citizens demanding reform, condemning the killing and kidnapping of unarmed protesters.

The US government issued a statement on the ongoing violence in Iraq, saying that “the United States is always interested in supporting a secure, prosperous and capable Iraq that can defend its people against violent extremist groups and deter those who undermine its sovereignty and democracy.”

The statement added that “as the world follows the development of events in Iraq, it is clear that the Iraqi government and political leaders to urgently and seriously interact with the Iraqi citizens demanding reform, there is no future for Iraq to suppress the will of its people.”

The statement condemned “the killing and abduction of unarmed protesters and the threat of freedom of expression and the cycle of violence,” noting that “Iraqis must be free to make their own decisions about the future of their country.”

Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The Iraqi and Lebanese people want their countries back. They discover that the Iranian regime’s highest exports are corruption, disguised as a revolution.”

“Both Iraq and Lebanon deserve to run their own affairs free from Khamenei’s interference,” he said.

The capital Baghdad and the central and southern Euphrates provinces are witnessing demonstrations launched since early October and resumed again on 25 of the same month in protest against the deterioration of living and service conditions, the spread of unemployment, and financial and administrative corruption in the state institutions and departments.

Demands have risen to topple the government and parliament, and the removal of all parties involved in the political process since 2003, until now after violence and repression of protesters, which left dozens dead and hundreds injured.

Protesters in several predominantly Shiite cities, including the capital Baghdad, have launched a general strike by cutting off vital roads and government departments in a move to increase pressure on the judiciary, legislative and executive authorities and political parties and ruling forces to implement the demands of the demonstrators

Shafaaq.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on America issues a strong stance to the Iraqi government and political leaders on the protests

Anger as Khamenei accuses Lebanon, Iraq revolutionaries of being ‘Zionist’ tools

Anger as Khamenei accuses Lebanon, Iraq revolutionaries of being ‘Zionist’ tools

Anger as Khamenei accuses Lebanon, Iraq revolutionaries of being 'Zionist' toolsIran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei accused protesters in Iraq and Lebanon of succumbing to “Zionist regime”.

“The people of Iraq and Lebanon have some demands that are rightful, but they should know these demands can only be realised within the legal framework of their countries,” he said in remarks aired on state television.

“When the legal structure is disrupted in a country, no action can be taken,” he added.

He also took to his English Twitter account to repeat his claim that has been lambasted as a conspiracy.

“I recommend those who care in #Iraq and #Lebanon remedy the insecurity and turmoil created in their countries by the U.S., the Zionist regime, some western countries,and the money of some reactionary countries”, he said in a controversial tweet.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani echoed Khamenei, accusing those protesting against corruption of “foreign interference”.

“Our advice has always been to call for peace and (stopping) interference by foreign forces in these countries,” President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi was quoted as saying by state media.

Both comments were met with anger across the Arab world, with protestsers accusing Iran of using its geopolitical muscle as a way of undermining popular calls for greater rights and freedoms in Iraq and Lebanon, where Tehran has huge influence through militias.

On Friday, clashes erupted when partisans of the powerful Iranian-backed Shia group entered Beirut’s Riad Al-Solh square, chanting in support of Hezbollah.

On Monday, pro-Amal and Hezbollah supporters also rampaged through a protest camp in the same site.

The rallies in Iraq and Lebanon ignited hopes of a renewal of the Arab Spring in the two countries both plagued by corruption, mismanagement, and a power structure based on sectarian affiliation.

Earlier this year, protests also broke out in Algeria and Sudan, prompting the departure of longtime dictators Omar Al-Bashir and Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

One major difference between the protests in Lebanon is the level of force the authorities are willing to use.

While protesters in Lebanon have clashed with the army and been attacked by supporters of the Hezbollah and Amal movements, who both participate in government, there have been no fatalities.

By contrast, over 250 protesters have been killed in Iraq since protests began on 1 October, and security forces have used machine guns against protesters as well as tear gas.

Alaraby.co.uk

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Anger as Khamenei accuses Lebanon, Iraq revolutionaries of being ‘Zionist’ tools

Sadr: not to resign Abdul Mahdi will not inject blood and will not join alliances after today

Sadr: not to resign Abdul Mahdi will not inject blood and will not join alliances after today

 Sadr: not to resign Abdul Mahdi will not inject blood and will not join alliances after today[Baghdad-Where] Sadr’s leader, Mr. Moqtada al-Sadr, said that the failure of the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, “will not inject blood.”

Sadr said in a statement received by the agency [where] a copy, “Attention .. It is just a warning and not intimidation, you people are higher than fear for those who did not pay attention, I try to alert him or [warning] Syria and then Yemen and now ?! Iraq, yesterday Bashar [Assad- Syrian President] then [Mansour] Abd Rabbo [Yemeni President] and now Adel Abdul Mahdi. ”

He added, “O rebel people came back what we said yesterday: The resignation of Adel Abdul-Mahdi will deepen the crisis, I say: not resignation will not inject blood and not resignation will make Iraq Syria and Yemen.”

“I will not engage in alliances with you anymore,” he said.

Alliraqnews.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sadr: not to resign Abdul Mahdi will not inject blood and will not join alliances after today

Iraq Prime Minister Pressed to Quit as Protests Clog Streets

Iraq Prime Minister Pressed to Quit as Protests Clog Streets

Under pressure from a growing number of protesters, Iraq’s prime minister appeared likely Wednesday to step down in the coming days.

Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters
By Alissa J. Rubin

BAGHDAD — Under pressure from a growing number of protesters, Iraq’s prime minister appeared likely Wednesday to step down in the coming days, although exactly when is the subject of negotiations between two powerful Shiite Muslim leaders.

In a letter to one of the men, the cleric Moktada al-Sadr, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said he would be willing to resign and call early elections. But Mr. Mahdi insisted that it be done according to the procedures in the Constitution.

“It is not enough for the prime minister to go to Parliament to announce early elections,” Mr. Mahdi wrote on Tuesday, saying that there were constitutional requirements “that the prime minister must abide by.”

The prime minister did suggest another path, saying, “If the goal of the elections is to change the government, there is a shorter way to do it.” He encouraged Mr. al-Sadr, who controls the largest bloc in Parliament, to work out an agreement with the man who controls the second-largest bloc, Hadi al-Amiri.

NYTimes.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Iraq Prime Minister Pressed to Quit as Protests Clog Streets