Transparency International is a Berlin based organization that has bestowed upon Iraq a corruption ranking of 169th out of 180 different countries. The report was filed yesterday and it comes as no surprise given Iraq’s propensity for extortion on any given level of authority or government. Turkey was ranked 81, Iran was 130, and Syria came in at 178.
Part of the report stated that the corruption is a, “endemic in the Arab states while assaults on freedom of expression, press freedoms and civil society continue to escalate.” Syria and Iraq, being at the bottom of the list, were deemed to be among the most corrupt. According to Transparency International, the middle eastern countries, “suffer from weak public institutions, internal conflict and deep instability. Such situations allow corruption to become rife with little to no checks on official abuse.”
It was stressed in the report that free speech was paramount and society should remain active in facilitating change; it mentioned, “serious and genuine political will for change and reform,” would be important and, “Without serious reform, corruption will continue to flourish, further exacerbating the political and economic instability of the region and hindering its social and economic development.”
Kurdistan has routinely been afflicted with high levels of corruption and was the cause of mass protests held this past December. Government employees and Kurdish military forces have consistently been denied salaries or salaries have been extensively delayed over the course of the conflict with the Islamic State. Many are still waiting under the guise of an audit by the central Iraqi government.
The Kurdish regional Government (KRG) has made bold claims of attempting to combat corruption of this manner but the Kurdish political parties, KDP and PUK, have routinely skimmed money the top of the pile. Skimming and bribery is at a cultural level in the middle east and that “corruption” will not be removed easily. In 2017, 123 cases of corruption were under investigation within the KRG.
The Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, commented that stopping corruption within the government will be the “new war” that the country of Iraq would be facing post Islamic State. He cited the delayed government salaries as being part of investigating the corruption within the KRG, a valid but hypocritical point. The former Iraqi trade minister, Falah al-Sudani, was sentenced to 21 years prison time earlier this month. The charges were in connection to a scandal involving the food rations program for Iraq.
Featured Image Courtesy of U.S. Department of State via Wikimedia Commons