By Dr. Layth Mahdi.
The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
America and Britain have failed in introducing democracy into Iraq because they handed power to politicians, most of whom do not have the qualification or experience to be in their positions. They are now paying the price for their mistakes.
17 years ago, Iraq was ruled by a dictator who had an agricultural, industrial, health, educational, military, and police system. Today, Iraq is a failed state with diminished local production, also experiencing domestic security and political instability.
Since 2003, all the elected government officials have been unable to address issues concerning mismanagement and corruption. They have failed to prioritize the Iraqi interests and meet the needs of its people. Likewise, the failed parliament has become hated and unwelcome by the Iraqi people because many political parties and blocs are corrupt, competing amongst each other for power. Members of parliament do not have the vision, knowledge and creditability to establish clear political, economic or social programs in rebuilding Iraq.
The popular protests that started in October of last year were a result of continued political failure and mismanagement of the country since 2003. The mass protest movement started with demands to improve social and economic conditions. Following the brutal suppression by the government the protests grew against government corruption, the constitution, control of militias and Iranian interference. As the protests gained momentum, they started to become more organized and unified amongst the provinces. The protest movements are now demanding to dissolve the parliament, form an interim government, and hold early elections with the aim of bringing about a fundamental change in the political system.
The Iraqi government made a mistake in not taking advantage of international experts working in the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and the Iraqi-American Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) signed in 2008 to develop the Iraqi socio-economic programs.
The Iraqi politicians in power since 2003 and until now have not offered anything to future generations, and they are the least responsible for their people. They have destroyed the economy, spreading ignorance and not educating and empowering their people.
Iraq suffers from widespread and persistent corruption across all levels of government and sectors. According to the World Bank's governance indicators, from 2003 until 2013, Iraq has consistently scored in the bottom 10 percentile for control of corruption, rule of law and political stability which created successive living and economic crises for citizens. The Transparency International Organization reports that 300 billion dollars has been looted since 2003 and local Iraqi sources state that another 350 billion dollars have been mismanaged and stolen within more than 5000 projects funded between the period of 2003-2014 in the sectors of housing, health, education, roads, bridges, and electricity. The report claims most of these projects were fake and not implemented because of poor planning.
Today, Iraq needs a strong prime minister who is able to make important decisions to meet these challenges. The Prime Minister-designate Mr. Mustafa Al Kadhimi has recently been appointed to form new cabinet. To succeed in his mission, he MUST create a team with strong political and economic credentials to present radical solutions to a transitional program that includes:
- Restore the security and political stability;
- Strengthen the integrity of national sovereignty;
- Implement reform programs to fulfill the demands of the demonstrators and respond to their legitimate aspiration;
- Development of the economy and international relations.
Since 2003 the GoI has continuously failed its citizens and contributed to the deteriorating economic and security situation. The corruption and lack of security control cannot continue as the population has reached a tipping point. History has proven that the GoI cannot independently rebuild Iraq, they must collaborate with international agencies as they do not process the expertise. If Iraq continues on the same path then we can only expect a continued path towards a failed state.