How did corruption in Iraq turn into a "culture"?
Experts: partisan quotas is behind the perpetuation of the phenomenon, and the constitution must be changed
Sabah Nahi is an Iraqi researcher and writer Sunday 3 April 2022 12:51
From the demonstrations in Nasiriyah, southern Iraq (AFP)
Iraq has become a country devoured by corruption, until there is almost nothing left of it for its toiling citizens.
By looking at the oil figures, it becomes clear to what extent corruption has plagued Mesopotamia.
After opening the oil export crossings in the far south of the country overlooking the Arabian Gulf, and increasing the quantities produced from it until it reached more than four million barrels per day, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil recently announced that it was able to export 100 million and 564 thousand barrels for the month of March (March), to achieve The highest revenues in Iraq's history in fifty years, amounting to 11.7 billion dollars in one month, at an average price of $110,090 per barrel.
These numbers were reported by the Iraqi state oil marketing company "SOMO", as Iraq has become the second largest oil producer in "OPEC" after Saudi Arabia in oil, and
yet it is ranked among the seven most hungry countries in the world.
Corruption in the oil sector
Former Iraqi Oil Minister and current oil expert Jabar Ali Al-Luaibi pointed out that despite these large numbers of exports, Iraq failed in its oil industry,
while in the past it was one of the first countries in the Middle East that focused on extractive, transformational and petrochemical industries.
The Iraqi economy derives its sustainability from the revenues of the oil sector, which amounts to more than 90 percent of its resources.
It is worthy of ensuring the continuity of life for the whole of society, securing the funds necessary for state budgets, and providing living and life possibilities in an economy described as “rentier”, as
it depends entirely on Exports and oil resources in its economy, and is directly affected by the changes that occur in it.
Al-Luaibi argues that there is wastage in the revenues of oil wealth, saying: "Yes, there is great waste in this vital sector on which Iraqi budgets depend, and
I have been warned to stop waste outlets and change them sooner, including
importing oil derivatives at a rate of 3-4 billion dollars annually,
Burning natural gas in the fields at a rate of 6-7 billion dollars annually,
transporting crude oil at a rate of 2 billion dollars annually, and
other details at a rate of 2 billion dollars annually, so
the total annual waste is 15 billion dollars and perhaps more.”
Another oil expert explains that one of the forms of corruption can also be described as "mismanagement",
citing what happened with the "Karbala" refinery, where nearly ten years have passed and construction has not been completed, while the real cost of this refinery is according to the international standard for its establishment and capacity.
The productivity is four billion and a few million dollars, but the cost of the current refinery is more than six billion, and it is strange that it has not worked so far, and its production was scheduled to start at the beginning of 2021, at the worst, and
the oil expert attributes this to the fact that the refinery was corrupted twice,
The first is by increasing its costs, and the second by delaying its production, because it will reduce the country's imports of oil derivatives.
Corruption in the electricity sector
The energy and electricity sector is one of the vital sectors with the most complexity in its industry and specialization, the largest in its investments, the most interactive and connected with the citizen and his needs.
Dr. Karim Waheed, the former Minister of Electricity believes that the sector is also the most subject to internal and regional political pressures, which made it the most fragile at the level of national security and the main axis in assessing the performance of the state and the political system, which necessitated the preparation of a two-stage plan to rebuild the electricity sector, most of which was damaged in a war The second Gulf and its destruction was completed during the 13-year siege period.
In the face of this devastating reality for this sector, the task of reforming it appears faltering as a result of the
failure of the successive administrations and the
type of political system that allowed the dominance of sectarianism and nationalism at the expense of the united Iraqi patriotism, and the
production of city-states aimed at maximizing their economic and political resources at the expense of the state.
Karim Waheed told "The Independent Arabia" that the investment sector in electricity is political and corrupt, not economic, but will contribute to the collapse of the economy in Iraq, as it has become a resource for the national sectarian city-states, at the expense of the national system, noting that
the constitution should be the first step in changing the type of system, being the canopy that protects the no-state formations.
Quotas are a door to corruption
Adviser to the Cabinet, Mazhar Muhammad Salih, explains to "The Independent Arabia" that he sees political quotas as a wide door to the spread of the phenomenon of corruption, because of its ability to provide a customary state of harmony and equality in limiting the role of the supervisory body, by weakening the governance of the state system, through the method of "quotas.”
In dealing with decision-making centers, this conciliatory political formation permits a measure of harmony in penetrating the law and deviating public money in paths justified by mutual immunities.
The first economic advisor to the Iraqi Prime Minister adds: “The role of the parallel state and its effects with the political quota forces in justifying disposal, waste, or appropriation of public money, is the most dangerous and threatening role for the integrity of the social contract.
Behavioralism, which is an interlocking means of tools, gnaws at the body of the state and plunders its budgets for the benefit of political forces outside government control.
Currency auction theft by law
Among the most dangerous direct outlets in the acquisition of hard currency that comes to Iraq, is the so-called “currency auction” that causes daily waste, in a precedent that the state has not witnessed since its founding in 1921.
Dr. Mazhar Muhammad Salih, an economist, says that the foreign currency window is a product of the application of The neo-liberalism in the country after 2003, when the Department of Control over External Transfer in the Central Bank was abolished, and replaced by the Department for Combating Money Laundering, Crime and Terrorism Funds, and accordingly, external transfer through the central window or auction is free as long as the dinar is covered in foreign currency 100 percent.
Saleh adds: "External transfer has become unrestricted, and this process has caused a continuous waste of hard currency in dollars and foreign currencies, and abnormal use of banks and banks, which have turned into a market for speculation, and have become fronts for militias and ruling parties, to form the main outlet for controlling the dollar, dominating the market and trade and perpetuating it." The wheel of corruption is on a daily basis.
Corruption is a culture
The head of the Center for Political Thinking in Iraq, Dr. Ihsan Ali Al-Shammari, believes that “corruption in the country has transformed from an unacceptable phenomenon to a general culture and behavior of the forces of power, and
this culture has deepened the nature of hegemony over all state institutions and affected them greatly, so
the ruling parties can only be viewed on It is an area of corruption even in its electoral programmes, and it is trying to imbue all the state and its institutions with corruption, thus transforming corruption by virtue of this patronage from the parties to a (auxiliary state) that controls many joints,” adding:
“The state of corruption has become heavily armed with theorists and those who protect it.”
Al-Shammari bears the responsibility for corruption entirely on the political parties, given that they have devoted it, although the phenomenon is not a result of the post-2003 period,
but its spread after that date made the political class responsible for the collapse as a result of corruption, noting that the majority of political forces and parties are involved in the operations of Looting and wasting public money, and
there are those who have exploited some religious visions against the state, claiming that they are unjust, and
there are also those who have exploited an old culture, so whoever controls the state is establishing a phenomenon called “the culture of corruption.”