Iraq’s Technocrat Ministers under Threat

By Omar al Jaffal for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

On Sept. 5, unidentified gunmen attacked the home of Ann Nafaa Awsei, the newly appointed minister of construction, housing and public municipalities, in the Iraqi capital, which resulted in material damages.

Following the attack, Awsei issued a statement confirming that the attack was to deter the government's reform process.

The Iraqi parliament's Security and Defense Committee visited Awsei on Sept. 18. Following the meeting, the head of the committee, Hakim al-Zamili, said, “The lords of corruption are fighting competent figures and technocrats to stop the reform work in the country.”

The attack took place less than a month after the appointment of Awsei as minister in the Iraqi Cabinet. Awsei is one of the technocrat figures hand-picked by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to fill the vacant ministerial positions in his Cabinet.

Her appointment along with other independent ministers, such as Kadhim Finjan al-Hamami, who was appointed as minister of transportation, fall within the scope of Abadi’s reform plan to appoint independent qualified persons in ministries and government institutions to eradicate corruption in the state establishments.

Writer and journalist Zaher Moussa told Al-Monitor, “Awsei is not affiliated with any political bloc participating in the Iraqi political process, which means that she has no support from the Iraqi government and parliament, placing her and other technocrats within the Iraqi state institutions in a weak position.”

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