Saturday, 30 May 2009

Credit Where Its Due

I have been doubtful about the Iraq project that the US (with its sidekick ally the UK), have been attempting, and indeed I thought the whole debacle would end in a civil war, but recently there have been signs that despite everything, a semblance of a democratic state in a Muslim world appears to be emerging from the rubble.

Firstly, elections in Iraq have been held not once but twice, and generally accepted as being 'clean & fair', with the next national elections being set for January 2010, and for that I have to credit where its due.

And now, the Iraqi Minister of Trade, Abdul Falah Sudani (along with his brother Sabah Mohammed Sudani), and 1,000 allegedly corrupt officials, have been arrested for corruption by the anti-corruption watchdog, the Commission on Public Integrity. Few details have been disclosed, but the public watchdog said at least 50 were senior figures were included in those arrested.

Now, you can prove me wrong, but how many middle eastern states have a Commission on Public Integrity? And how many would arrest a minister and his officials, after 'serious complaints about the trade ministry, where officials allegedly took bribes for contracts'?

If this is proved to be a genuine investigation, and not some power struggle between factions in the Iraqi, then maybe this is a sign of a genuine democratic government developing in soil that is not very promising.

However, the sheer scale of the alleged corruption could mean that in fact the government is riddled with thieves and is therefore already failed .... figures suggest as much as a billion dollars a year is stolen by government officials.

Who knows, maybe George W Bush (and little Tony Blair), may be proved to be right in their assertion that history would eventually prove them correct ..... but my money is on the fact that Transparency International, say that Iraq is one of the most corrupt places in the world, third only to Burma and Somalia (which are both considered 'failed states').

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