Iraqi politicians are currently negotiating over which parties will control which ministries as part of the new government. U.S. officials are worried about what this might mean for the millions of dollars that they have spent trying to improve Iraq’s bureaucracy. For example, the Americans have expended $264.65 million on the Economic Support Fund, which trains Iraqis to be more efficient in spending their budget, and is currently helping with Iraq’s four-year National Development Plan. The U.S. is afraid that when new political parties take over the ministries they will get rid of large number of employees and replace them with their own followers. Ministries have been used as a major form of patronage by the lists to maintain and gain support, and provide jobs for their members. That could mean massive turnover and the loss of institutional knowledge, and several years of training that the Americans have provided to increase efficiency and institutional capacity. Similar fears were expressed after the January 2009 provincial elections, but they didn’t seem to change much. The ministries are much larger and important however, and involve far more employees.
Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report to the United States Congress,” 10/30/10
Al-Wanan, Jaafar, “Maliki demands for selected ministries for new government,” AK News, 11/24/10