Country Risk

Iraqi Deadlock Broken

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Ameer Al-Mohammedawi/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
  • It has taken a year since October 2021 elections, but Iraq at long last looks like it has a new government.
  • Some fierce political horse-trading is under way to decide who gets the top jobs, and the oil ministry could be a pivotal bargaining chip.
  • Public faith in government is at an all-time low, and the best Prime Minister-designate Mohammad Shia al-Sudani can hope for is to steady the ship and launch some modest reforms.

In Iraq, despair springs eternal. Last week came the revelation that between September 2021 and August 2022 some $2.5 billion dollars was effectively stolen from the finance ministry’s General Commission of Taxes at Rafidain Bank by five companies. Estimates of government funds lost to corruption since the US-led invasion in 2003 range from $150 billlion to over $300 billion. Nevertheless, the news comes as a shock, and rampant corruption is taking an increasing attritional toll on Iraq. It triggered the resignation of respected Finance Minister Ali Allawi over the summer. And the scandal has forced out acting Finance Minister Ihsan Ismail, who remains, at least until the new government, as oil minister.

Elections, Military Conflict, Policy and Regulation, Conventional Oil and Gas
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