Is Abadi’s revolution a storm in a teacup?
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/Saturday, 15 August 2015
Those who went to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi when he first took office, were surprised by checkpoint guards asking them which prime minister they were going to meet? Nouri al-Maliki was refusing to leave and his influence was still prevailing!
September marks Abadi’s anniversary as prime minister, although one year of his premiership passed as if he was never in power. Finally, Abadi has now announced that he refuses to stay in the box he was put in, deciding to change the structure of governance that limited his duties to being just another government employee “who can’t do anything.”
He has announced the dismissal of his MPs and other state leaders, except for the president and the parliament speaker. He has removed several governmental administrations and thousands of bodyguards assigned to officials and MPs. He has pledged not to allow the appointment of ministers, advisers and director-generals based on partisanship and religion. He promised to form a professional committee that will be in charge of selecting candidates according to standards of efficiency and integrity. In theory, it seems that Abadi has led a coup from inside the palace against the regime he inherited from his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki, but it may just all be a storm in a teacup.
What urged Abadi to take this decision was the outrage of the Iraqis who did not scream for help when it came to ISIS or Shiite militias this time, but from the heatwave hitting Iraq as most cities suffered from electricity blackouts due to weak government services.
Abadi’s real problem
The Iraqi people have been drained by high-level corruption and the government’s mismanagement of the country. It seems that Abadi has seized this opportunity to pounce against the cause of his powerlessness and decided to revolt alongside the insurgents. We can only hope that he dismisses those who are taking advantage of government services, and starts to fulfill the promises he vowed to achieve. The Iraqi people have been drained by high-level corruption and the government’s mismanagement of the country.This explains his decision to abolish his MPs’ positions and remove their guards, which has nothing to do with, say, solving the country’s electricity problem. The prime minister is in distress since the first day he took the oath of premiership during a dramatic operation where his predecessor Maliki was ousted almost by force. Iraqis have resorted to all world powers, including Iran and the United States, to overthrow him.
Abadi’s problem, which is also a general problem for governance in Iraq, has been people like Maliki and parties heads who decided to share governance with him. Both internal and external forces discovered early on that Abadi is a prime minister with diminished prerogatives. This is due to the fact that Maliki had destroyed state institutions by encouraging corruption in order to provide his men with absolute powers. He was dictator to the extent that he corrupted the judiciary and security apparatuses until he ruined the dream of a better Iraq with solid state institutions. The crimes committed by his government are appalling; he trumped up charges against his opponents, took advantage of security services and looted public money in horrendous ways. Moreover, he completely ignored the constitution and shunned the parliament by not asking for its consent or informing it of the government’s expenses until the end of his term when he sent off six years of budgets all at once in an unprecedented move in the history of governance.
Then, Abadi came to power, becoming in charge of a worn-out regime, looted funds, dreadful sectarianism and leaders whose prerogatives know no bounds. He couldn’t even fix the country’s electricity problems. He has spent half of his term unable to accomplish anything. This is why people took to the streets crying because they are living in an Iraq suffering from a lack of good governance since the 1970s. Abadi may not succeed despite his courage to announce this positive coup, which relied on the support of a religious authority once the complaints of citizens became loud and dangerous enough to threaten the entire regime. He can only succeed once he proves that Maliki and his men have been excluded from security apparatuses, the army, the judiciary, the central bank and other state institutions, and when he and his own men start to respect the law. Otherwise, he will not be able to achieve anything in the remainder of his term.
Let’s not forget the fate of the Yazidi rape survivors
Yara al-Wazir/Al Arabiya/Saturday, 15 August 2015
Just over a year ago, ISIS began their carefully calculated capture of the Yazidi people. Yazidi polytheism was the core reason that ISIS targeted them in August of 2014. After surrounding them on top of Mount Sinjar, they killed the men and captured the women. In the October issue of ISIS’s Dabiq journal, they admitted that it was planned and that their research found that the enslavement of Yazidi women was “justified.” This is consistent with research by Human Rights Watch., which agrees that the sex trade of minorities has been systematic and organized. The fate of the Yazidi women hasn’t been the main topic of conversation, but a question remains: Could Muslim, Christian, and Jewish women be next?
We’re all in this together
The systematic enslavement and rape of Yazidi women is inhumane, and one of the most brutal acts that ISIS has committed in the region. Amnesty International’s report describes the escape of a small fraction of women as an “escape from hell.”Although ISIS has systematically targeted Yazidi women in their organized slave labor camps, this is just the beginning. The future of their skewed interpretations of Islam cannot be predicted. The brutality of ISIS increases exponentially as time passes. Thus, we must all realize that we’re all in this together. The brutality of ISIS increases exponentially as time passes – although it started off with showing mercy for foreign hostages and letting them go in exchange for ransoms, it has shown no mercy to anyone in recent months. Despite initially justifying the enslavement of Yazidi women by the fact that they are not the ‘people of the book’ (Christians or Jewish – of an Abrahamic religion), a recently leaked document disputes that. The document, which details the trading price of women based on their age, refers to slaves as either “Christian or Yazidi.”It’s clear that no one is safe, and this is exactly why the world needs to act against the enslavement of women by ISIS, and give the survivors the attention and care that they need. The United Nations has been putting in a lot of effort to shelter refugees from the brutality of ISIS. However, rape survivors need a special kind of attention.Yazidis are bound to feel alienated, simply by the virtue of their beliefs. Rape survivors require medical attention, both on physical and emotional levels. Counselling is a necessity in order to integrate these women and children back into shared communities. Most importantly, these survivors need to feel safe and significant. While discussing refugees, we must also talk about the rape survivors.