“We have 18,000 files of corruption cases. If you saw them you would have a heart attack ”. These were the words of the Iraqi prime minister at a press conference on 2 September.
Cases of corruption have increased and have come to the surface as elections, scheduled for October 10, are approaching. All the parties in their slogans promise to fight corruption, but this has grown rapidly because of the parties’ need to find money to finance the electoral campaign. Cases of corruption have become the subject of mutual accusations among the competing coalitions.
In a heated debate in parliament, the integrity commission, charged with combating corruption, was accused of failing to “identify the responsibilities of ministers and general directors, contenting itself with hitting only small officials”. In its annual report for 2020, the commission reports that it investigated 63 ministers, while 449 officials of various ranks and general managers were accused. In most cases, they are people linked to the production and distribution of electricity.
Climate of fear
But in this war of accusations, no official body dares to mention the role of the militias in increasing corruption. Armed groups try to maintain the state of war and instability to safeguard their profits from illegal activities, such as trafficking in arms, drugs and human beings.
Increasing in number (about 160, some of which officially registered, others not) the militias have created a climate of fear in order to obtain large contracts with the state. They are the ones pushing hard for the elections, in order to maintain their controlling role behind the scenes.
And it is expected that the three coalitions with their respective militias behind them will control the majority of seats in the next parliament.
(Translation by Francesco De Lellis)