Enough With The Terror, Corruption Is Our Real Threat

Al-Mada, Iraq, March 13

With the parliamentary elections set to take place in Iraq in less than a month, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has been gearing up his campaign and ramping up his public appearances. In a recent speech in Baghdad, Abadi proudly announced that the Iraqi military has successfully defeated the last remaining Islamic State forces found in Iraq. Whether this claim is backed by facts on the ground or not remains to be seen. Yet it is clear that the Prime Minister is trying to appeal to the masses and convince them that he is worthy of re-election. I would suggest that instead of addressing the terror threat, to which we have been devoting most of our resources and attention, Abadi begins addressing the true existential threat that emanates from within our society: bribery and corruption. Unlike terrorists, corrupt politicians in Iraq are not on the run. They need not to hide or escape from the authorities. They carry out their crimes and weaken our society out in the open, without being held accountable for their actions. Notable experts have already pointed out to the enormous cost of corruption in Iraq. Some estimate that the Iraqi government is losing over $1 million a day from the evasion of taxes and tariffs on products being illegally smuggled through our borders. Abadi and his government have not done enough to tackle this phenomenon. They talk about it but fail to fix the situation. We are sick and tired of hearing the same old excuses: “it’s complicated,” “it takes time,” and such. It’s time to take action. If we can fight and successfully defeat terrorism, then we can certainly fight and defeat bribery and corruption. – Udnan Hussein

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