The motives and aims of suspending Iraq’s electricity minister, cannot deceive anyone, even the credulous. It is a ‘trick’ that has often been used in Iraq in particular as well as in the Middle East and in other countries.
Those who resort to this trick the most are the most pious rulers and who actually only appear pious, like our current rulers. The prime minister should have “played” a game other than this scapegoat goat.
The current electricity minister whom Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has suspended, is not the only person responsible for the ongoing electricity crisis facing the country.
The electricity ministry is not the only ministry that should bear responsibility for this crisis, which has been ongoing for 15 years now.
In fact, Abadi and his government are responsible for this problem, along with previous governments and their premiers, especially Nuri al-Maliki whose term covered over half of the 15-year period since the fall of Saddam.
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His two governments held more than three-quarters of the state’s foreign currency revenues, most of them emanating from oil exports.
Iraq’s central bank announced recently that the receipts of the Ministry of Finance from foreign currency from 2005 to 2017 totaled $706.23 billion, which is huge amount. However, we do not find any visible impact of this wealth on Iraq’s economy.
We do not find the construction of any dam, international freeway, large power station, a big strategic industrial or agricultural project nor even a cultural center or an art house or public library being made with this money!
At the heart of this complex crisis is administrative and financial corruption which has siphoned off billions of dollars from public development to the personal accounts of state officialsAdnan Hussein
In addition, the Iraqis’ ordeal is not limited to electricity generation issues. It is a much bigger and wider problem and covers issues related to water, security, judiciary, agriculture, industry, health, environment, transportation, education, communication and municipal services.
At the heart of this complex crisis is administrative and financial corruption which has siphoned off billions of dollars from public development to the personal accounts of state officials, such as prime ministers, presidents, speakers of parliament and their deputies, their consultants and office employees as well as ministers, MPs, deputy ministers, heads and members of the councils of “independent” commissions, general managers, governors, heads of the provincial councils and the ones reporting to them — in other words the entire government from its head to all parts of its body is steeped in corruption, except for a few, small departments.
This administrative and financial corruption is rampant in the state and the society like a cancer in its final stages. It is entrenched in the quota system, which in turn is a problem caused by a deficient constitution, unfair laws and improper work norms that were willingly adhered to by the leaders of influential parties.
Neither suspending the minister of electricity nor the suspension of agriculture, industry, health or education ministers etc., would revive the collapsing state.
Another road map should be drawn to get out the country out of this crisis and overcome this ordeal. This map is very simple and it’s been accurately and clearly drawn by the demands of the recent protest movement and those preceding it since 2011. Just look at what the protesters enunciate to realize the map.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Adnan Hussein is the executive editor-in-chief of Al-Mada newspaper and head of the National Union of Iraqi journalists. Previously, he has held the position of Managing Editor in Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets under the handle @adnanhussein.