Abadi doesn’t have what it takes to wage a war on corruption in Iraq
Every true Iraqi patriot dreams of waking up one day and finding Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi transformed into an Iraqi version of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz: Brash, daring and undeterred by the barons of corruption in Iraq.
Like the Saudi crown prince, Abadi would bring the law to bear on those princes, sheikhs, ministers and ambassadors who reek of corruption and let justice decide who’s innocent and who’s not. He would rekindle the torch of freedom and dignity in Iraq and give hope to its people.
When Crown Prince Mohammed launched his war on corruption, he was gambling with his own power and political future. The merit of his blitz on those mighty fortresses of corruption was not so much in replenishing the kingdom’s coffers with tonnes of money or in freaking out all sorts of embezzlers yet to be uncovered but in profoundly shaking Saudi society and bringing to the surface the millions of honest citizens who yearned for justice and transparency.
Crown Prince Mohammed’s earthquake broke their heavy silence, rewarded their patience and enlisted them for more profound changes and reforms in Saudi Arabia. He will triumph there, too.
In Iraq, however, coming to grips with corruption is much more difficult. Despite the importance and considerable power of the detained personalities in the Saudi context, none of them had a militia at their command or came under Iran’s umbrella.
The problem facing any Iraqi knights vowing to fight the corruption dragon is that none of the poor citizens would take them seriously. Yes, in Iraq, the overwhelming majority of common folk have a burning desire to see the barons of corruption brought to justice, the big fish before the small fry.
Everybody wants Abadi to go down in Iraqi history as that brave knight. Common sense, however, says that militias and antagonistic interests make the knight’s task impossible. For two reasons the matter is not as simple as having an elite corps of security forces arrest a handful of corrupt individuals as happened in Riyadh.
The first reason has to do with the nature of the target. Any one of the figures wanted for corruption in Iraq has at his disposal a whole army armed to the teeth and backed by hidden armies of mercenaries and opportunists, ministers, members of parliament, judges, military personnel and police officers, bankers, preachers, radio and satellite stations and irreverent media.
The second and more important reason is linked to Iran’s influence in Iraq. The colonising Iranian regime knows that the most corrupt officials in Iraq are its agents. It knows that most of the population in Iraq, Shias included, are waiting for the opportune moment to swoop down and devour them.
It further realises that the downfall of one of its major agents would bring the whole house down. When that happens, the Iranian colonisation of Iraq would end and Iran could say goodbye to its spying base, weapons depots and access bridge to Syria and Lebanon.
By drawing this dark and hopeless picture for Iraq, the intention is not to discourage those kindled spirits who refuse to accept corruption in Iraq as a fatality but we in Iraq cannot afford to waste energy and expect the impossible.
A war as serious as the war on corruption can only be fought by a brave and wise leader who is free of party or sectarian allegiance. Abadi is not that leader. He will never dare draw his sword on his Iranian masters, militia leaders or Major-General Qassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s al-Quds force.
Abadi, who never misses a chance to boast about his party’s history and sect, would never dare spoil the mood of his political party.
Within that context, Abadi’s promised war on corruption, like it or not, will never amount to anything other than a few skirmishes with small-scale crooks. The big cheeses can sleep undisturbed. The real war on corruption in Iraq can only be a war on the Iranian regime in Iraq and the region before it is turned into a war on its corrupt agents.