Iraq has failed to establish balanced relations with the rest of the world because its embrace of Iran has erected a high fence separating it from other countries. Equally, the dominance of Iranian militias over the decision-making process in Baghdad has dragged it onto Iran’s side in Tehran’s showdown with the international community.
That is not all. Despite the existence of three branches of government in Iraq, legislative, executive and judicial, the country’s authorities are, beyond the media halo that somehow surrounds them, mere facades for the rule of political parties, which seem in agreement but are in reality gripped by internal feuds.
No one in the executive branch, for example, can make a decision unless it serves the interests of a strong party against the interests of other parties, which parties can in any case seek to harm the government by digging the dirt on its corruption.
This is also true of the judiciary, which was and still is a venue for settling scores between rival parties.
Members of the House of Representatives, which embodies the legislative branch, do not represent the people who elected them as much as they represent the political parties that put them in their seats and endowed them with privileges not enjoyed by any member of parliament anywhere else in the world. This was in evidence when Moqtada al-Sadr decided to withdraw his deputies from parliament and dispute the results of the 2021 elections. In the final analysis, MPs in Iraq are puppets driven by their political blocs.
Cabinet ministers are employees of their parties and have nothing to do with civil society. They are in no way accountable to the people, while judges excel in handing down harsh sentences on those who have neither backing nor partisan support on which to rely.
In this context, the corrupt who bankroll influential parties have no reason to worry if graft charges are brought against them. They are likely to be whisked out of court with unblemished records.
Thus, Iraq is in ruins mostly because of its internal dynamics, not because of its alignment with Iran against the world. And if Iraqi politicians often repeat that they want to steer their country away from alignment with any camp, they are just lying.
No one in the world should believe them. And if we assume in good faith that this or that politician really wants to distance Iraq from Iran, we will quickly find out that he is unable to impose his views on the militias, which have the final say in anything related to major Iraqi decisions, including those having to do with relations with the country’s Arab neighbours and the rest of the world.
Iraq is a captive country. At the level of diplomatic activity abroad, the representative of Iraq in the Arab League does not miss an opportunity to defend Iran’s aggressive policies, much like the representative of Lebanon, the other Arab country afflicted with Iranian hegemony as represented by its official proxy, Hezbollah.
The current Iraqi prime minister makes promises right and left in an attempt to improve Iraq’s links with other nations, hinting at the possibility of Iraq establishing normal relations with other countries. He makes it sound as if that goal can be achieved without having to prove that Iraq can act as a sovereign state. Iraqi politicians claim the country can recover by reforming its corrupt system, while they race to show their loyalty to Iran’s velayat–e faqih.
Iraqi politicians are lying through their teeth when they give the people the hope of returning to the international fold while political parties continue their push to transform Iraq into an Iranian state province. Therefore, it is difficult to look at the Iraqi prime minister except in terms of him representing country ruled by Iranian militias. And the whole world knows this.