Iraq is greater than the challenges facing it. Low oil prices, COVID-19, US military withdrawal
Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi called for national unity as he outlined the difficulties facing the country, saying that Iraq is greater than the challenges facing it.
In an article published on Monday, Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi said that he wanted to put before the Iraqi people, especially young Iraqis demanding their rights, the challenges ahead and what was needed to overcome the current financial, administrative, and political crises.
Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi called on political blocs to help complete the formation of the government so that it can begin to implement practical plans to respond to the legitimate aspirations of citizens, provide them with services and decent livelihoods, and stop all violations and abuses.
The Prime Minister said that he accepted the responsibility of office knowing the difficulties and “the heavy legacy that will confront me at all levels and in all vital areas that impact the lives of citizens, and the security, sovereignty and independence of the country.”
He added that “the crisis is deep and interwoven in the very fabric of the state and its institutions, undermining its economic strength.”
The Prime Minister said that the collapse of oil prices has made it necessary for the government to explore every option to fund salaries of state employees, pay the cost of running its institutions and fulfilling their obligations, chief amongst them is ensuring the safety of citizens during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Prime Minister said that the security of Iraqis is threatened, not by Daesh and its sleeper cells only, but also by the proliferations of weapons outside the control of the state, corruption, the plundering of public money, and the unacceptable (global) ranking of Iraq in terms of education, health and services.
He added “the wealth that went through Iraq‘s treasury over the past 17 years would have been sufficient to rebuild the country and establish a fund for the future, but corruption drained it, with some of the wealth openly and publicly taken out of Iraq. When I came into office, the treasury was almost empty.”
Responding to the demands of the protestors
The Prime Minister affirmed that he is determined to respond to the just popular demands expressed by the protest movement to restore the glory, strength, and dignity of Iraq, end the legacy of hateful quotas in all its manifestations, and to fight financial and administrative corruption.
However, the Prime Minster underscored that reforms would not be possible without restoring the authority of the state and its sovereignty. This, he said, requires that no party, regardless of its power and loyalties, be above the will of the state, the Constitution and the law, and that weapons must be restricted to state institutions and the Armed Forces under the command of the Commander-in-Chief.
The Prime Minister outlined the following immediate key priorities for the government:
- Completing the passage of the new Electoral Law, and the Independent High Electoral Commission Law to facilitate the holding of elections as soon as possible
- Protecting demonstrators so they can express their will freely and peacefully. It is the duty of the Ministry of Interior and the security services to prevent any third party from interfering with the protestors
- Confronting the economic and financial crisis, rationalise public spending, fight corruption, initiate necessary reforms, and protect our people from Covid-19
- Restoring the authority of the state, asserting national sovereignty, confining arms to state institutions, securing the country against the threat of terrorism, and establishing the rule of law
Iraq’s national interest
He called on everyone to put the national interest of Iraq above secondary interests, and affirmed that although the challenges are great, Iraq is greater than the challenges, crises, and problems facing it, but that “we need to work with our people, parliamentary blocs, political parties, social and other groups, and gain the understanding of our young demonstrators, to enable the government to do its duty.”
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