Does the public trust the institutions of defence and security to tackle the issue of bribery and corruption in their establishments?
Iraq score: NS/100
The public view the defence establishment as entirely indifferent to corruption within it, or as clearly corrupt, without the political will to tackle the problem.
The public view is that bribery and corruption are not, according to official rhetoric, acceptable to the defence establishment, but there is a widely-held belief that this is just that: rhetoric, and not seriously intended.
The public view is that bribery and corruption, though not acceptable to the defence establishment, is insufficiently addressed by the measures in place to tackle the problem.
This indicator is not scored. Please discuss conditions in the country context related to good practice (Score 4).
The public view is that there is a clear commitment from the defence establishment that bribery and corruption are not acceptable and must be prosecuted, and that their efforts to tackle the problem are sincere and effective.
Iraq’s fourth parliamentary elections held in March of this year drew the lowest voter turnout since elections were first held in 2005 (1)
Attracting a historically-low voter turnout of 44.5% is evidence of the lack of trust Iraqis hold of the existing political process. A partial manual recount remains underway. A public opinion poll published in 2016 by the Gallup Poll Briefing (2) suggests that Abadi’s popularity waned. Figures on which they base their findings were gathered in late 2015, discussing the hopes and expectations Iraqis hold of their prime minister, and “the public’s continued discontent about worsening corruption and poor government services.” “The high hopes that Iraqis had for PM Abadi when he first took office in 2014 have faded over the past year … Abadi’s approval ratings dropped from 72% in late 2015 … the PM’s current approval rating is about the same as the 50% rating that his predecessor Nouri al Maliki received before he was forced to resign in August 2014.”
Protesters latest attacks on government buildings and HQ’s belonging to political parties during the latest uprisings in southern Iraq (3), (4), have been understood as an expression of the betrayal felt by the masses in the absence of the most basic of services (1), (4). Relative calm has indeed been restored following victories against the ISG. However, this does not translate directly into greater trust in the defence sector’s commitment to cleaning up defence corruption across its institutions. Low levels of trust are seen by various opinion polls and ongoing of abuse of power among security actors, from corrupt defence deals to the harassment of civilians in former ISG territories (5), (6). Recent protests have led to greater promises of reform under the present and outgoing administration, but on various counts, the government has backpedalled on its proposed reforms. These reasons make public trust almost impossible to retain. As one analyst writes “Beyond rhetoric … the 2018 election cycle did not feature a genuine debate on issues” (7) on the implementation of anti-corruption reform. Another source identified “low trust in government institutions and low confidence in elections” as a key driver behind protests (8).
For these reasons, I do not agree with the proposed score change.
1. “Iraq: Election results within two days, turnout at record low,” Al Jazeera, May 13, 2018, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/iraq-election-results-days-turnout-record-180513061807758.html.
2. “Iraqis approval of prime minister drops sharply,” Gallup News, January 6, 2016, https://news.gallup.com/poll/188030/iraqis-approval-prime-minister-drops-sharply.aspx.
3. “Iraq: protesters flood Basra to rally against dire economic situation,” Ruptly, video, July 27, 2018.
4. “Iraqi protesters storm local government building amid anger over graft,” Reuters, July 14, 2018.
5. “Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on her mission to Iraq,” UN Human Rights Council Thirty-eighth Session, Jun 20, 2018, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Executions/A_HRC_38_44_Add.1.docx.
6. “Mosul: Civilian protection challenges post-ISIS,” Center for Civilians in Conflict, May 2018.
7. “Iraq’s 2018 government formation: unpacking the friction between reform and the status-quo,” London School of Economics Middle East Centre, February 2019, http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/100099/1/Mansour_Iraq_s_2018_government_formation_2019.pdf.
8. “Iraqis call on New Government for Jobs, Services and Reconstruction,” National Democratic Institute, October 1, 2018, https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/Iraq%20Survey%20Aug-Oct%202018%20Public%20Report.pdf.
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