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August 3, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8877

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi Outlines His Government's Response To Major Challenges, Sets Date For Early Elections

August 3, 2020
Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 8877

On July 31, 2020, Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi gave a televised speech highlighting his government's efforts over the past months in responding to major challenges including the financial crisis, Iran-backed militias, protests, and the COVID-19 epidemic. Al-Kadhimi also announced that his government has chosen June 6, 2021 as date for holding an early general election.[1]


Iraqi PM Mustafa Al-Kadhimi during his televised speech (Source: YouTube). 

The following are translated excerpts from his speech:

"Many Years Of Organized Corruption, Mismanagement, Nepotism, And The Absence Of Planning Have Left Huge Economic And Social Problems"

"The honorable people of Iraq... From the first day, I was assigned to form this government to save Iraq from the specter of chaos and internal collision, a danger that was witnessed by all honorable and free people. Various parties tried to push the country to a bloody conflict and end its hopes for recovery and restoring its balance following the victory over the terrorist Islamic State (ISIS).

"Internal, regional, and international conflicts are threatening once again the security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Iraq, and the future of its people, while many years of organized corruption, mismanagement, nepotism, and the absence of planning have left huge economic and social problems.

"In these circumstances, amid the challenges of popular protest, the economic circumstances and the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic, accusations and slander were made against me personally and against those who worked with me or are close to me on a human level. These accusations started prior to my appointment [and continued] during and after the formation of this government. They were meant to hurt me, damage our reputation and distort our patriotic values...

"We have faced, during the two months of the government, many obstacles, but we focused on the basic and honest objectives that we set from the beginning... according to the following criteria:"

"We Have Worked Tirelessly To Work On A Comprehensive Reform Paper... That Will Revive The Iraqi Economy"

"First, preparing for free and fair elections that will produce a new House of Representatives that in turn will elect a new government that represents the will and aspirations of the Iraqi people. On day one, we formed a specialized committee to overcome the obstacles before the election law, and the election commission. This committee reached a result that I will announce at the end of this speech.

"Second, defying the economic crisis. We have worked tirelessly to work on a comprehensive reform paper called 'The White Paper' that will revive the Iraqi economy, solve the financial crises that are expected to worsen during the coming months, activate agricultural and industrial production, introduce projects to address the crisis of unemployment among the youth, revive the market, and put the Iraqi economy on the right track by stopping waste and the exploitation of public money...

"We realized that there are no solutions to these crises without restoring the stature of the state and enabling the state to impose its policy and laws. We have made a series of administrative changes to prevent the collapse of state institutions and to prevent them from being weak or being exploited by the corrupt and weak individuals and non-national stakeholders, and the border outlets campaign was an example of spreading state influence and activating customs and tax procedures."

"We Stripped Many Influential Figures Involved In Corruption Of Their Power, As A Necessary First Step Before Subjecting Them To Justice"

"We have rejected the patching solutions... And we proceeded to cleanse the institutions from corruption, and we stripped many influential figures involved in corruption of their power, as a necessary first step before subjecting them to justice. We ordered that all licenses of investment and delayed projects be audited to reach a comprehensive solution that includes either initiating these approved investments or completing the stalled projects or withdrawing government approval immediately and filing lawsuits against all those who tampered with the money of Iraq or paid bribes to keep the work wheel stalled.

"We also took practical steps to invest in Iraqi natural gas after years of waste, about which I do not exaggerate when I say it was intentional.

"Third, responding to the COVID-19 crisis, which is a serious global crisis for which health institutions around the world, much less the Iraqi health institutions that have been held back for many years by neglect, corruption, and weak management, were not prepared.

"We have inherited hospitals suffering from poverty and overcrowding, and projects for new hospitals that were put on hold for years. We have now finished work on these projects and issued measures to activate their use to help contain the epidemic. We will also receive the rest of the hospitals [currently under construction] that will be accessible to citizens in the coming months."

"We Refuse To Turn Iraq Into A Field Of Conflict Of Regional And International Interests"

"Although the government has a scarce budget, we shall not hesitate to provide any support to the health institutions and the heroic health staff, in order to carry out their duty at this sensitive period.

"Fourth, responding to the security turmoil: We refuse to turn Iraq into a field of conflict of regional and international interests, or as a country in which groups outside the law and organized crime tamper with corruption. We were clear and keen from the first minute to complete the first stage of the strategic dialogue with the United States, provided that the criterion is protecting the sovereignty of Iraq and its territorial integrity while maintaining cooperation with its brothers, neighbors, and friends.

"We said that we will not need a U.S. military presence in Iraq as much as we need cooperation in the economic fields, education, culture, health, security, and armament and training for our heroic Iraqi forces, as well as cooperation with the international coalition."

"We Refuse To Drag Iraq Into The Policy Of Regional And International Axes"

"Preserving the lives and safety of diplomatic missions and those who supported us [i.e., Iraq] in the war against ISIS is the task of the government. It falls within its international sovereign obligations. We refuse to drag Iraq into the policy of regional and international axes. We also affirmed the adoption of the principle of cooperation and non-interference in internal affairs between Iraq and our neighbors and friends.

"Fifth, an independent and fair investigation into all events that accompanied the October 2019 demonstrations and the following months. We have set our sights from the first minute on conducting a fair investigation that starts by identifying the victims in a way that provides a solid and legal ground, not empty slogans, to restore the rights and put before justice those involved in [spilling] the blood of Iraqis.

"After only two months of investigation and inspection, we established a list of martyrs for the October events that included 561 heroic and betrayed martyrs from among young demonstrators and the heroic security forces. Their families will receive moral and financial compensation. We will investigative the case of every victim in order to put criminals before the court as a moral, religious and patriotic obligation..."

"We Pledge To Give All Competing Forces Equal Protection And Support To Run In The Elections, Whose Results Shall Not Be Intimidated By Illicit Weapons, Nor Shall The Will Of The People Be Falsified"

"My sisters, brothers, sons in this homeland: We promised to reveal to you within 72 hours the truth of the recent events of Tahrir Square and to identify the violators and this is what we did.

"Imam Ali, peace be upon him, said: 'The most honorable creatures who fulfill his promise.' We made a pledge to be worth of the trust given to use by the people, I here announce that June 6, 2021 is the date for holding the early parliamentary elections, and we will work with all our effort to make these elections successful by protecting them and securing their requirements, as we ask the brothers in the esteemed parliament to send the law of elections to the President of the Republic for approval, and that the Electoral Commission enjoy full independence, and that elections take place with the presence of international observers.

"We pledge to give all competing forces equal protection and support to run in the elections, whose results shall not be intimidated by illicit weapons, nor shall the will of the people be falsified. Its results are only determined by the free choice of our Iraqi people. Therefore, I call on the young people, political parties, thinkers and social figures to start organizing themselves and be ready to make a qualitative leap that would lift Iraq out from the chaos of conflicts to security, prosperity, and honorable political competition."

 

[1] Pmo.iq, July 31, 2020.

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