Iraq's Defunct Military Industry

For his part, economic adviser to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Mazhar Mohammed Saleh, said that activating the MIC will create major investment potential and secure jobs for competent key Iraqi employees.

Saleh told Al-Monitor that the MIC has an important military and economic role in the war on terrorism, but he denied any knowledge of practical steps by the government to reactivate the MIC.

It seems that reactivating the MIC is a political decision, which was confirmed by a former MIC director who supervised the commission's technology efforts. “The government is not serious in taking practical steps,” he told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity.

He said, “Most of the MIC key employees were affiliated with the Baath Party. They are subject to de-Baathification by the government preventing them from working in government departments.” He added, “Most of the headquarters of military industrial companies are located in the outskirts of Baghdad, such as Yusufiyah. These areas are witnessing critical security conditions and are plagued by terrorism.”

In this regard, Bejary said, “The key employees are available, and it is not true that most of them are subject to the law of de-Baathification.”

The MIC also faces other obstacles. The Ministry of Industry and Minerals stressed in a June 7 statement (of which Al-Monitor obtained a copy) the importance of reviving the military industry in Iraq, but that it is looking for partners from the private sector to proceed with the work.

Complications could arise as the reactivation of military industries in Iraq may also be subject to sectarian quotas in terms of managerial positions within the MIC.

Bejary said that there are further complications, such as obstacles by external and internal parties (which she did not name) that want to keep Iraq weak and dependent on world powers.

Controversial projects between Iraqi political parties require a lengthy debate before a compromise formula can be reached, and the reactivation of the MIC remains one of the most complex undertakings.

(Military image via Shutterstock)

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