The military defeat of ISIL, the ramifications from the Kurdish referendum and the upcoming parliamentary elections represent defining moments in Iraq’s contemporary history. There is now an opportunity to reorient Iraq’s trajectory and propel the country towards prosperity and stability. Failure to seize this opportunity will condemn Iraq to deepening instability and may well doom Iraq to utter collapse.
As such, Iraq is in urgent need of an internal dialogue to address the underlying structural flaws at the crux of the post-2003 political order. Iraqis are indignant at years of conflict and the failure of the government to deliver services. Accusations of corruption are tarnishing the political class throughout Iraq, from Baghdad and Basra to Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. Such corruption and abuse of public funds undermines the viability of the Iraqi state and sustains the cycle of conflict and terrorism. It is imperative to dry up this swamp of corruption. Prime minister Haider Al Abadi’s initiative to fight corruption is important and should be built upon through comprehensive legal means.
However, ending the crises that plague Iraq also require a reconstruction of the current political order to restore citizen trust in the government. A new political order must be based on the notion of a civil state that strengthens civic values, supports the role of women and their rights, and ensures a commitment to human rights. The ambiguity found in some provisions of the Iraqi constitution and its misapplication warrants a review of the constitution, but through constitutional mechanisms that have been agreed to by the people.