I wrote “Iraq’s Big Gamble” for the Daily Beast about Prime Minister Haider Abadi’s new reform initiative.
On August 9, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Abadi caught Iraq by surprise when he outlined a new reform program. This included cutting the number of top officials and bodyguards and dismissing the current vice presidents and deputy premiers, ending the ethno-sectarian quota system when choosing government posts, and setting up a special committee to investigate corruption. These were meant to address some of the structural issues that have plagued the Iraqi government since it was created in 2005 following the U.S. invasion. Many ministries and deputies, for example, are created simply to give one of the ruling parties more spots in the government, which are then used to dish out patronage and steal public funds.