Traffic Snarls, Violence Accompany Motorcades

Police Capt. Rahim al-Asadi, who works at a checkpoint at the southern entrance of Baghdad, told Al-Monitor, “Security vehicles with blacked-out windows are not inspected and security barriers are opened for them even before they arrive.”

Journalist and political analyst Saleh al-Sayyed Bakir told Al-Monitor that a state official should be “a model citizen in every way. His commitment to the law earns him popularity and makes people want to vote for him in the elections.”

On Dec. 8, the Iraqi Interior Ministry announced that Abadi had issued government orders — which ministers, parliamentarians and officials should abide by — instructing official convoys not to block streets and to prevent security details from brandishing weapons. But Bakir doesn’t expect these orders to be obeyed.

The ministry’s spokesman, Said Moen, said in a press statement, “The general commander of the armed forces, who is also the prime minister, ordered all officials’ convoys to abide by the general law and to take into consideration the citizens’ [safety]. He also demanded they not block roads, brandish weapons and cause chaos in the streets.”

Armed convoys will continue to showcase the power of state officials, because the convoy is considered an expression of their power and influence. Parties, politicians and senior officials think that the law grants them such privileges and powers.

(Baghdad image via Shutterstock)

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