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     The Future of Iraq from an Iraqi Lawyer's point of view


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     The Future of Iraq from an Iraqi Lawyer's point of view Empty  The Future of Iraq from an Iraqi Lawyer's point of view

    Post  goodyboy Tue 15 Apr 2014, 10:01

    ...  What a Face 

    The Future of Iraq from an Iraqi Lawyer's point of view

    Eleanor Hall, a journalist for “The World Today,” had an interview with Zaid Al Ali, a lawyer who spent 5 years in Iraq as a legal advisor to the UN and who has written a book about the current state of Iraq and its prospective future.

    Here are some quotes from the interview:

    ELEANOR HALL: We hear almost daily of bombings and attacks still in Iraq. Just how functional is your country, now that the international troops have pulled out and a democratic government is at least established there?

    ZAID AL ALI: What makes it unusual, makes it very, very difficult to live in Iraq, is less the explosions but more the daily grind of corruption, mismanagement, sectarianism, nepotism, poverty - all that stuff makes a huge difference in the way people lead their lives. Violence is a big deal, of course, and there's a lot of it, but corruption is just as devastating.

    Mismanagement has an impact on everyone's lives every second of the day. When you step into any government institution, any public hospital or school or university, you immediately feel the impact of corruption and mismanagement.

    And it's even impacted now the environment. So the environment has really suffered and it's really collapsing in Iraq.

    ELEANOR HALL: Why is it so dysfunctional? Is it a case of the government simply needing more time to sort out the enormous post-occupation, post-Saddam problems?

    ZAID AL ALI: Well, I mean, there's no question that he government does need a lot of time, you know, because the legacies of Saddam Hussein and the wars and the sanctions prior to 2003 is a very devastating one. And that would take a large amount of time for any government to sort out.

    But in this case it's really egregious. You know, the lack of progress is really stunning. When you look at things like electricity production, you have entire swathes of the capital that don't have access to electricity, sometimes days at a time.

    That can't be just the factor of time. You know, they've had plenty of time now, they've had 11 years to sort themselves out. The cause is much more that the people who are in charge, the new elites, simply just don't care enough to resolve our situation. They're much more interested in issues such as personal power, money...Corruption really is the tune that everyone dances to today.

    ELEANOR HALL: Well, you returned to Iraq after 2003 to work on the new constitution. To what extent were you and your colleagues at least successful in setting up a functional structure for governing the country?

    ZAID AL ALI: I was part of an office at the United Nations that was called the Office of Constitutional Support that was supposed to provide advice to the extent that the Iraqis wanted it on the drafting of the constitution.

    It was a difficult environment to work in because the constitution was drafted at a time of increasing violence. And when you're writing your constitution in the context of great distress, where you're motivated by trying to protect oneself from another, then what you're essentially doing is that you're encouraging for the country to be split apart.

    ELEANOR HALL: What are the chances that this month's election will change things?

    ZAID AL ALI: I'm of the opinion that the elections won't change anything except for possibly changing who is at the helm of the country, who's occupying the prime minister's position.  So, you know, we have a political elite which is very corrupt. All the political parties that are in parliament are represented in government as well, so they all have their hands in the basket, enjoying the spoils of a very corrupt state.

    It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to imagine that any outsider, anyone who has a reformist agenda or is seeking to improve the performance of government, could have any hope of breaking into the current governing elite.

    ELEANOR HALL: Let's look at prime minister al Maliki. He's portrayed as either a potential new dictator or as an incompetent who won't survive this month's elections. Why such divergent views? What's your characterisation of him?

    ZAID AL ALI: I regard him as being incompetent and he's surrounded himself by very corrupt elements. There have been some accusations of corruption against him personally. I don't know if any of those are true but there are certainly many corrupt people around him.

    So essentially the security forces were given to him and he's used the security forces to intimidate his enemies. If you look at the decisions that he's made, the administration that he's led and the policies that he's adopted, it's quite clear to me that he's made a number of disastrous decisions and he must get the blame for all those things.

    So if he was replaced by someone who was of better faith - let's put it that way - that could possibly lead to a partial solution to some of the problems in relationships between communities, but in relation to issues of corruption, mismanagement, that would take a lot longer to resolve.

    ELEANOR HALL: That's Iraqi lawyer Zaid Al Ali, and his book is called The Struggle for Iraq's Future.

    Enorrste commentary...

    I wanted to post a portion of this interview to point out what I was talking about on last night’s conference call. Our investment is being held hostage to corruption at the very highest levels of the Iraqi government, and it is not clear that a change in leadership (which is not entirely likely) will brings us that much closer.

    When corruption exists at this level in Iraq it is nearly impossible for serious progress to be made. We have seen that the IMF and World Bank aren’t even that effective in getting Iraq into position for entry into the world economy.

    I realize that, according to some articles and the Iraqi TV transcript reports, there are regular improvements here and there throughout the country. But this is more a palliative than a solution to the corruption problem, in my view. Unless and until the high-level corruption is rooted out of the system, it is not clear that significant progress will be made for our investment.

    This begs the question: how would they root out the corruption? More to the point, who would lead the charge in doing so? Unfortunately there is no clear answer to these questions. We have not seen any person step forward to date who is willing to seriously address this issue. The reason, of course, which was brought out by Zaid al Ali, is that everyone is involved in the corruption. With everyone involved it is no wonder than there is no one leading a charge to make serious change.

    In spite of this there are articles regularly calling for a cleaning up of the corruption, which, I suppose, is a good thing. At least they are willing to give the problem some lip service. However, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for any lasting change in this situation, regardless of who is Prime Minister.

    Having said that, I am not intending to put everyone on a “total downer.” The fact is that there is pressure to keep the ball moving toward the free float. Unfortunately, there seems to be nearly equal pressure, especially from Maliki, to slow that process as much as possible.

    While we see all of the benefits for ourselves and for Iraq in the initiation of a free float, those who are benefiting from corruption that is rampant and pervasive in Iraq fail to see those benefits. This means that they have little or no incentive to move toward significant change (namely the float). Only time will tell whether international pressure will be sufficient to get us to our goal.

    I just noticed the article about the World Bank being concerned that the budget has not been approved thus far.  In the article it is not so subtly stated that the "administration" expenses have grown substantially, starting last year, causing increased deficits.  Can anyone see the word "corruption" here?,ctr:countryIQ

    What amazes me is that the World Bank would interfere in this matter at all.  Technically they have nothing to say about a country's budget matters.  What we are possibly seeing is another ramping up of the rhetoric from international sources, in this case the normally staid World Bank, to get Iraq to move forward.  Let's just hope it works.  Unfortunately, knowing what we do about Maliki, it will just piss him off more for their interference!

    I too am still hopeful.  KAP has rightly shown that there is a great deal of pressure being exerted from outside Iraq to get this process moving forward.  We have seen many steps in the right direction as well.  The way I see it, though, is that the trigger could have been pulled for some time now (look how many folks have called for it, daily, based on our review of  Iraqi TV transcripts) and yet it hasn't happened or even been discussed in terms of timing (one person did say it would happen this year, but he wasn't "connected" as I recall).  So it comes back to Maliki and his corrupt cohorts who must be holding this up.  I'm just saying.....

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     The Future of Iraq from an Iraqi Lawyer's point of view Empty Re:  The Future of Iraq from an Iraqi Lawyer's point of view

    Post  goodyboy Wed 16 Apr 2014, 11:48

    ...  What a Face 

    The atmosphere of the elections reveal the extent of the corruption of candidates and parties
    16-04-2014 01:12 PM

    Ozakmt smell of corruption in the noses of the Iraqi elections, including candidates two weeks ago to open the door to vote. And continue the campaign of the Iraqi conducting for the first time since the departure of U.S. forces in Iraq in December 2011 in full swing, and campaign posters cover the walls and teeming with political propaganda airwaves. But the lack of transparency and corruption, undermined confidence in the democratic process, at a time when Iraq faces increasing attacks from armed groups.

    Experts said that the policy is still in Iraq are highly vulnerable to the impact of undeclared money, and flowing from within the country and regional powers, which strives to maintain its influence in the country.

    According to observers, this proves the need Iraqi parties continuing funding for the continued operation of its satellite channels and buy the election campaign and fund the celebration of religious events and organizing conferences and workshops, which are components of the machine key to attract voters with the approach of elections scheduled on the thirtieth of April. Amid all this noise, and after eight years in power, seeks Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to win a third term with elements of the Islamic Dawa Party.

    But the re-election of al-Maliki seems they are no longer within the Muslim country's political, the restless Iraqi voters of the deterioration of the level of public services and security, while striving in which armed organizations to get more weapons and fighters, who usually have their source of conflict in Syria.

    While acknowledging the Electoral Commission, in 2013, the rules set the maximum electoral propaganda for the candidate at 85 thousand dollars and banned donations from abroad and requested a review of the bank accounts of the election campaigns of each party, it seems that the atmosphere of the race still need a lot to reflect the rules established by the Committee.

    In addition, the Committee's procedures do not live up to the law as it is not binding. Although the text on the potential fines or invalidate the votes, did not see many people that the commission will have the power to be sufficient for the application of these rules.

    The newspaper «Financial Times» British in a report entitled "fears of corruption hanging over the Iraqi elections," Ahmad Ebadi, a legal expert and Iraqi political analyst, as saying, "The Law on Control of funding of political parties and election campaigns are still in the drawers of Parliament, and the absence of the law," no one can disclosure of sources of funding for political parties, large and small. "

    "The big parties attached to vote on this law because it has an interest in not appearing to the political arena, as the law that could reveal the sources of funds of those parties, which mostly comes from outside Iraq."

    It succeeded the religious parties backed by Iran, after 11 years on the U.S. invasion, to penetrate state institutions and expansion within the corridors, and then was able to control the government ministers and senior officials, which helped them a lot in the transfer of large amounts of money, and put it in the accounts of them outside the country. Remains a sectarian dimension, according to the Financial Times, adjacent to the process of political funding. Valadeaouat loyalty of political blocs to foreign powers and access to finance by those forces, in turn fueling the sectarian conflict-existent.

    Many accuse Iran of having the upper hand in the financing of User Shiite parties, led by the Islamic Supreme Council headed by Ammar al-Hakim and the Islamic Dawa Party, headed by al-Maliki and the Sadrists. But Sunni and secular parties has not been spared from accusations that are also touched by foreign funding, as a list of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

    Observers believe also that one of the sources of internal funding in Iraq includes parties get money from businessmen were assisted by those ministers in the past, and received contracts and tenders for the completion of projects in Iraq with the help of ministers, who usually control their their parties.


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