Press release 06th Jul 2016

Mistakes of Iraq must never be repeated

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Related Publication

Invasion of Iraq fuelled corruption and instability

6th July 2016, LondonTransparency International Defence & Security Programme (TI-DSP) welcomes today the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry that is rightly damning about the failures in post-conflict planning of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Iraq today remains stricken by conflict, with weak institutions, crippled by corruption, for which the people are paying the highest price. This is a direct result of a lack of any coherent post-conflict strategy that has also led to escalating levels of popular frustration and ultimately the rise of ISIS, despite the billions of dollars the international community has poured into post-conflict reconstruction.

Such mistakes must never be repeated and future governance, including anti-corruption measures, must be a central tenet of military strategies pre-action.

Iraq was one of the worst performers in TI’s 2015 Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index, judged to be “at a critical risk of defence corruption”. And in TI’s 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, Iraq was ranked 161st out of 167.

Katherine Dixon, Director Transparency International Defence and Security Programme said:

“Endemic corruption is one of the biggest security threats Iraq now faces. Yet its roots can be traced right back to failures of pre-conflict planning. And the most frustrating fact of all is that’s unclear what the international community has really learnt from all this.” 

“Governments should not go to war without proper post-conflict planning, and that means working out how they will deal with corruption, which will inevitably threaten the legitimacy and stability of the state institutions that they leave in their wake.”

Additional notes:

  • Popular frustration with corruption is one of the biggest security threats Iraq now faces, and cuts across sectarian lines.  While Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr “wait[s] for the great popular uprising and the great revolution to stop the march of corrupted officials”, many disaffected Sunni have joined ISIS in disgust with failure of government to deliver basic services, or in some cases their involvement in extortion.
  • When billions of dollars are poured into a fragile state without proper planning corruption flourishes and in Iraq this led directly to an increased terror threat and global insecurity. A major reason why the Iraqi army melted away in the face of ISIS was that there were 50,000 ghost soldiers on the payroll, whose salaries were being creamed off by senior officers – who themselves had bought their rank and had no military experience.
  • Following Sundays bombing that killed over 200 people, the Iraqi PM announced a ban on the widespread use of “magic wand” fake bomb detectors. As part of the deal that saw these useless devices brought in, bribes were paid to Iraqi officials. And the problem extended to the UK side, where it took a year for them to be banned from export after whistleblowers raised concerns to BIS.


Link to TI Defence& Security Programme statement


Dominic Kavakeb
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