“Anti-Corruption Protests Lead Iraqi Prime Minister To Eliminate Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister In Reform Effort”
International Business Times, August 9, 2015
“Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi won the support of his cabinet to pass sweeping reforms aimed at reducing corruption and improving government services, a response to a growing protest movement touched off by a record heat-wave. The reforms would see the dissolution of several top government posts, including those of vice president and deputy prime minister, which carry significant political privileges. The proposed reforms come after two consecutive weeks of mass demonstrations in central Baghdad over municipal mismanagement and inadequate government services. As temperatures spiked to more than 120 degrees, Iraqis endured widespread power outages and little relief in sight from authorities. In their second week the protests grew more political, particularly after the powerful and revered Shiite Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani lent his support to the protests. Sistani called for the prime minister to ‘strike with an iron fist’ at the entrenched corruption within the government. … Critics have charged the current system is rife with patronage and political favors, with appointments following sectarian lines.”
Quickie analysis: The Iraqi people apparently aren’t content to let the government use the war against ISIS as an excuse to phone in the rest of governance. It may be an additional headache for the government right now, but citizen activism demanding better governance is probably a good thing for Iraq’s future.