No Winners In Iraq’s New ‘War On Corruption’

“Parliament was supposed to question the minister of electricity, but his own bloc agreed to boycott the session,” she explains.

Despite this kind of thing though, most of the political parties announced their support of al-Abadi’s campaign against corruption. They clearly see that this will be a major issue during coming election campaigns and they all want to appear to have done something about it.

Some of them have apparently made genuine moves in this direction. The cleric Muqtada al-Sadr expelled dozens of members of his political movement for corruption and the leading Dawa party pushed Salah Abdul Razzaq, a senior member and the former governor of Baghdad, out of their party after he was accused of corrupt practices.

But it is extremely hard to know who is and is not corrupt in Iraq. The accusation of corruption has been used as a political weapon for years, a way of getting rid of political adversaries.

In fact, al-Abadi’s critics have already said they believe he is just using the anti-corruption campaign as a way to rid himself of political enemies and anyone who might compete with him during the next elections.

Others say that al-Abadi himself could be indicted on corruption charges for things he did when he was a former minister and before that, an MP. They accuse him of corrupt deals when he was the country’s first minister of finance after 2004 and when he was involved in the parliament’s investment and financial committees.

“The prosecution of corrupt officials should only be done according to the correct legal procedures, and there should be no exceptions,” says MP Salah al-Jibouri, who added that he feared that the anti-corruption campaign would be used to target political enemies once again.

Senior Iraqi politician and former prime minister, Ayad Allawi, believes the problem goes even deeper than corruption. “This current war on corruption is associated with election fever,” he asserts. “And anyway no single person can carry out this battle all by themselves. In fact the first step in the fight against corruption is to reject the political quota system.”

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