FREE GEOPOLITICAL NEWSLETTER

iran  

For current reports go to EASY FINDER

IRAQ


 



Books on Iraq

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
437,072

Population

24,001,816 (July 2002 est.)

Capital
Baghdad

Currency
Iraqi dinar (IQD)

President



Update No: 043 - (28/11/06)

Deadlines for Al-Maliki?
Maliki has been fighting with the US embassy as well lately, accusing it of maintaining a patronising tone and warning the US ambassador to respect Iraqi suzerainty. It is not clear whether Al-Maliki was reacting to rumours that the US might be looking for alternatives to a Shiite-dominated government. The apparent keenness of the Americans to set deadlines for the government to achieve certain goals, such as disarming the militias, had led to speculation that Al-Maliki might be forced to resign if such deadlines were not met. Whatever the case, Al-Maliki seems to feel under pressure: at the beginning of November Prime Minister Maliki confirmed that he plans a major reshuffle of his government. It is expected that 7-9 ministers will be replaced. The heads of the Ministers of Interior and Defence are widely expected to be among those rolling. 

Sadrist chaos
Although Al-Maliki has been intensifying the efforts to discipline the militias and purge them at least in part from the security apparatus, his success has been limited. Despite some purges, it is still estimated that militias account for 70% of the police force. Al-Maliki is known to have confronted his political patrons in the Shiite alliance with the need to rein in the militias and a consensus seems to be slowly emerging that the militias have gone too far. Unfortunately, it might be too late as the political leadership of the factions seems to have lost control over many of the militias. In particular, it appears that Muqtada as-Sadr faces great difficulties with large groups of his loyalists, who have largely infiltrated the police. The attempt to coopt him into the government in order to mollify his radicalism has in a way worked. He is now part of the establishment and preaches against sectarianism, but he has not been able to carry all of his followers with him. Sadr's attempt to discipline his forces and mould them into something more similar to Lebanon's Hizbollah is clearly failing. He has established new training courses for his cadres and has been sacking those who were not willing to follow the new line. However, these rejects have still the option of going it alone and they do. There are now just in Baghdad 23 different Shiite militias. The trend is difficult to reverse because the militias are actually popular within their own communities, as they offer protection and even some benefits while at the same time preying on other communities. Not only the militias are involved in intra-sectarian fighting, but they are also beginning to fight fellow coreligionists, with SCIRI and Sadr's groups being the bitterest enemies. 

Economic mismanagement continues
The population has more reasons to be unhappy than the violence alone. Inflation has been seriously eroding the purchasing power of the ordinary Iraqis. Fuel and electricity prices have gone up 270% since the invasion, tea 400%, eggs 200%. The health service is in deep crisis because of financial mismanagement and corruption and because 18,000 physicians have fled the country since 2003. Corruption is another source of discredit for the government. A current estimate is that government corruption accounts for 10% of GDP yearly. Corruption goes so far that it contributes directly to the violence: an estimated 14,000 weapons have disappeared from the government armouries, presumably to end in the hands of the militias and of the insurgents. Theft is not the only aspect of the decay of the Iraqi government. The government, filled with cronies and political appointees, does not even have the capacity to spend its own budget, so that this year an estimated US$8-10 billion will go unspent. 

 « Top  

« Back

 


 
Published by 
Newnations (a not-for-profit company)
PO Box 12 Monmouth 
United Kingdom NP25 3UW 
Fax: UK +44 (0)1600 890774
enquiries@newnations.com