Iraq: What is the Next State of Euphoria?

Protest against corruption, called by Muqtada al-Sadr, Tahir Square, Baghdad, February 2016

Protest against corruption, called by Muqtada al-Sadr, Baghdad, February 2016

By Muhamed Hassan –  Immersed Thinking:

Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, had raised people’s expectations for an end to the country’s political impasse when he presented to parliament (March 31) a new list of ministers that could form a new dawn. But there are already voices who are in disagreement with his choice, raising concerns about the new candidates’ independence and calibre.

It is a fact that influential political blocs are not keen on implementing sweeping changes that would see their influence and interests chipped away. They are experienced enough to smell a rat. While they loudly hail political reforms, they also keep their ears and eyes wide open for any political move that could jeopardise their positions and powers.

The United States is throwing its cards behind al-Abadi at this stage, though tentatively. For the US, he is not perfect, but deserves some credit, compared to the personalities they’ve had to deal with post 2003.

On the other hand, and by standards of ordinary Iraqis, al-Abadi is too weak to implement any real and sweeping changes. His call for a government of qualified technocrats has fallen on deaf ears, because he is simply powerless and governed by a system which has drawn the political system in Iraq into sectarian and ethnic lines.

The battle now is not about implementing or not implementing much-needed reforms. It is about who is capable of implementing the reforms and by what degree and at what speed. It is easy to talk about reforms, but what good does any reform do if it is not followed by strong judiciary and accountability laws that are put to practice?

With his Green Zone sit in, influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr made a good start, but the pressure of protesters to implement wide-ranging reforms must carry on, otherwise the situation in Iraq will remain the same, if not worse, as the case with other ‘Arab Spring’ revolutions that saw the masses’ dreams for a fair system of governance evaporate and shatter, only to be remembered in flashbacks.

Whether Iraq will make headway or not, the crises are already augmenting at an awful speed, especially financially, which makes it even more urgent to find a solution.

Unfortunately, the politicians are not worried about how the country is sinking, but how to save their seats against the tide of popular rage.

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