Nouri al-Maliki: Mastering the art of covering up scandals

The scandals and failures of Maliki’s government resulted in a coup by his own party

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

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With a scandal involving 50, 000 fake military jobs unfurling in Iraq, former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has spoken about the sacred duty to defend Syria, Iran and Hezbollah. Perhaps he thinks that it is the best way to cover up the scandals of the army, of which he was the leader, the shocking defeats at the hands of terrorist organizations, the corruption and the presence of “ghost” employees in security and military institutions. The former governor of the Baghdad’s Green Zone is threatening the countries of the region, calling for religious leadership. He seeks to embarrass the new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, who appeared in the media a day earlier, called on Iraqis to unite and pledged to correct the mistakes of his predecessor by removing a large number of Maliki’s military leaders.

What advice can a corrupt person like Nouri al-Maliki offer?

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Instead of being subjected to an investigation over the financial and military scandals that took place under his rule, the former prime minister went on a trip to Lebanon where he wandered about like a tourist and issued threats. At a time when Iraqis are struggling to save the country from ISIS, al-Maliki is calling for the defense of Iran, Assad’s Syria and Hezbollah. The irony is that the man who is now calling for the protection of Iran and Assad’s Syria is the very man who abandoned Iraq and failed to protect Mosul, the second most populated city in Iraq. He abandoned the city, leaving it open to ISIS, because of the failure of his leadership and the rampant corruption during his rule. Therefore, the country remains under the occupation of the terrorist organization.

Scandals and failures

The scandals and failures of Maliki’s government resulted in a coup by his own party, the al-Daawa party, in cooperation with other political forces against him, including Shiite religious leaders. It became clear for everyone to see that he planned to remain in government, shoring up his power using corruption and by blackmailing his opponents with the intelligence he collected on them, faking results, threatening to use force and even by declaring a state of emergency rule. He startled everyone with his yearning for absolute power and essentially became another Saddam Hussein. This was especially apparent when he became greedy for an additional four years in power, on top of his eight years as prime minister. He personally managed seven ministries, along with the presidency of three states. Besides his dictatorship, the scandals his officers were embroiled in continued to come to light, from the scandal of bribes in the Russian arms deals to the old weapons gleaned from Eastern Europe and the appointment of military leaders based on nepotism.

Growing corruption and failure to rule properly resulted in the disaster of June 11 - the seizure of Mosul by less than 2,000 terrorists after Maliki’s men fled the city. Thousands of people have died due to Maliki’s actions and if it were not for the prompt actions of Iraqi political forces by which they eliminated his government, there would not have been a chance for a unified Iraq today. International intervention also made it possible to defend Baghdad, thus preventing the Iraqi capital from falling into the hands of ISIS. Without Abadi’s keenness to heal the negative ramifications of the former prime minister’s policies on the tribes of western Iraq, and without his desire to improve the relationship with the Kurds, the divided country would have disintegrated, heading towards a fierce civil war.

What advice can a corrupt person like Maliki offer during his tourist trip to the southern province of al-Tofah in Lebanon?

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on December 5, 2014.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

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