Setting A Good Example: When It Comes to Reforms, ‘Model’ Iraqi Kurdish Region Is Lagging Behind Baghdad
The crises that caused Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi to announce serious reforms also affects the Iraqi Kurdish region. But much to some locals’ anger, no major reforms are planned there, local authorities say.
For years the semi-autonomous northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan has compared well with the rest of the country – it is often described as a less conflicted, safer and more democratic part of Iraq. But now it seems to be lagging behind Baghdad, where the current Prime Minister is trying to institute radical and important reforms.
Three months after Baghdad announced a series of reforms, aimed at ending corruption, increasing transparency and helping solve the country’s financial and security crises, the Iraqi Kurdish government in Erbil has done nothing similar – and that’s despite the fact that, although they may not always act like it, the Iraqi Kurdish are part of Iraq and are actually suffering the same problems.
In an unusual turnaround, Arab MPs in Baghdad began criticising the Iraqi Kurdish government for its reluctance to work on reforms.
“The Kurdistan region is part of Iraq and it should organize itself to institute reforms similar to those that the central government is undertaking,” says Ibtisam Hilali, an MP belonging to the same broad political bloc, State of Law, as the Prime Minister.
“The region should make reforms that are parallel to Baghdad’s. The economic crisis is also having an impact on the people of Iraqi Kurdistan, perhaps even more of an impact. If the region doesn’t implement similar reforms we may have to suspend the region’s share of the federal budget.”