The prospects of Iraq’s political reform

Alwaght- When the necessity for fighting the corruption in Iraq was raised with a backing from the country’s (Shia) clergy, there were rays of hope and expectation that accomplishing this popular demand would result in people and clerics putting more trust on the Iraqi government and empower it in spreading the rule of law across the country and restoring the national independence and sovereignty.

Once the anti-corruption fight could take its straight way according to the Islamic teachings, without doubt it could root out corruption, which is a legacy of the US occupation period, and thus boost the administrative efficiency.

However, an array of factors, including the Iraqi army’s and government’s involvement in battle against ISIS terror group, slumping oil prices, Arab and Western- especially Saudi and British- inflammatory activities in Iraq, and hasty strains put on the government by some internal political forces, have collectively created such conditions that pushed the reform plan- as it is understood from the so-called technocrat cabinet- to lose the needed popular confidence for fighting the corruption.

These factors have also caused gaps among the members of National Iraqi Alliance, a leading Iraq’s parliament coalition, as the major supporter of the country’s government. Actually, as a result of the intra-party division, the internal unity of the alliance has seen a faltering and weakness, and thus its major property was exposed to jeopardy.

Downsizing the Iraqi government, either by eliminating or by merging the inefficient ministries, has helped the government scale down its costs, but disregard of the formerly established balance in the structure of the fresh cabinet has caused a new round of protests specifically by Shia political parties and groups. With a look at the reaction of the anti-government- and anti-new Iraqi political system – media, on top of them the Saudi media, we get the notion that they have been impatiently waiting for such divides. It is very likely that they have a hand in orchestration of the tensions through backing of the Western countries, especially Britain.

In the make-up of the newly-proposed Iraqi cabinet two points are calling the attention and are found challenging: First putting in charge of the foreign diplomacy and policy Sharif Ali bin Hussein, who is from Iraqi’s former royal family and has British leanings. Giving the post of foreign minister to bin Hussein could amend Iraqi relations with the Arab countries, however, it could gradually derail the immature Iraqi political system from its major pathway. Second, giving the oil ministry to the Kurds in a situation that, on the one hand, oil is one of the most challenging issues causing problems between the central Iraqi government and the Kurdistan regional government and, on the other hand, the Kurdish region’s leadership is about to hold referendum on independence from Iraq.

Accordingly, all in all it could be said that despite the fact that the necessity for political reforms and fighting corruption was raised by the political and religious Shia leaders, the course taken for accomplishing these demands was not confidence-making  and assuring.

Thus, it seems that Iraq’s reform plan must be given a review in a way that paves the way for unity of the political parties and groups specifically when it come to the country’s largest parliamentary coalition: National Iraqi Alliance. Also, the political reforms should make a ground for fighting against corruption at the roots. Furthermore, it should help boost security and stability at home through fighting against the takfiri terrorism.

Additionally, any reform plan has to make ground for restoring national independence and sovereignty of the country. Lastly, it should secure a support of the clergy. It is through these conditions that hope could be reposed on success of political reforms plan as well as the reshuffled cabinet as part of the reform program.

By Alwaght