Corruption in Iraq ”worse than Afghanistan”

Published November 17th, 2009 - 02:08 GMT

Ahrar Leader Ayad Jamal Aldin has declared that beating corruption is his movement's number one goal:

Every Iraqi knows that corruption is at the core of our country's problems. It permeates every day life in Iraq and undermines our nation's very existence.

The world expresses concern and rightful outrage at corruption in Afghanistan but few countries appreciate that things are even worse in Iraq.  Our country is now ranked by the global corruption monitor, transparency International, as the third most corrupt in the world-and sadly for all of us this is not a statistic-it is a fact of life!

Our security is undermined because checkpoint guards are bribed. Our electoral commission is corrupted because the sects divide up offices of power amongst themselves so that their will, rather than the people's, is ensured.

If you want a job to feed your family and have a roof over your head then you are expected to pay cash for the privilege of a government post. People in desperation feel that they have no alternative than to give corrupt officials a bribe.

People even have to pay to have their garbage collected. If they don't pay they risk having garbage pile up in the streets. What sort of life is this for our families?

The corruption can be seen at every level of our society. At the highest level we have seen ministers of this government personally profit to the tune of millions of dollars. Funds meant for much needed electricity and water services are siphoned off and used to benefit ministers and their cronies and families.

Billions of dollars provided by countries that want to help our people are wasted or worse still stolen. Yet our current politicians and parties do nothing to deal with these problems because they are the very reason for them. We must have change. And we need bold change and an end to the cosy deals between sects and the current politicians who have brought our country to this.

Ahrar says enough is enough! And we say to the people of Iraq this election is your last chance to say enough is enough too!

Our nation will not truly advance until corruption is rooted out. And ending corruption begins with ending the terms of the current politicians and replacing them with honest and truthful men and women from all backgrounds who are interested in bringing Iraq together as one and ending the sectarian division that has done so much to harm our great country.

Ayad Jamal Aldin is a Shia cleric, best known for his consistent campaigning for a new, secular Iraq. He first rose to prominence at the Nasiriyah conference in March 2003, shortly before the fall of Saddam, where he called for a state free of religion, the turban and other theological symbols. In 2005, he was elected as one of the 25 MPs on the Iraqi National List, but withdrew in 2009 after becoming disenchanted with Iyad Allawi's overtures to Iran. He wants complete independence from Iranian interference in Iraq. He now leads the Ahrar party for the 2010 election to the Council of Representatives, to clean up corruption and create a strong, secure and liberated Iraq for the future.

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