Transparency International is a German based organization that tracks corruption across the world. They recently released their 2009 Corruption Index that ranked and compared 180 countries. Since the U.S. invasion in 2003 Iraq has consistently been in the bottom 25 most corrupt nations. In fact, by 2006 it had dropped to the second or third most corrupt in Transparency International’s list. In the latest Index Iraq actually moved down the list for the second year in a row to be tied for the fourth most corrupt country, along with Sudan. Iraq received a score of 1.5 out of 10. Somalia, 1.1, Afghanistan, 1.3, and Myanmar, 1.4, were at the very bottom.
Iraq’s Ranking In Corruption Index 2003-2009
Iraq’s score placed it at the very bottom of nineteen other countries in the Middle East. Qatar, 7.0, the United Arab Emirates, 6.5, and Israel 6.1, had the best scores. Iraq, 1.5, Iran 1.8, and Yemen 2.1, were at the other end of the spectrum.
Transparency International said that nations like Iraq faced severe challenges to establish solid institutions, transparency, and accountability because of instability. That’s apparent each month as there are constant reports about corruption. In November 2009, for example, the Integrity Committee, one of Iraq’s three main anti-corruption agencies, said that it was planning on going after 455 senior officials, including ministers and governors. In October, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s brother was arrested at the Dubai International Airport trying to smuggle Iraqi antiquities out of the country. In September, the Integrity Committee released a poll from June 2009 of 3,500 Iraqis that found 79% had to pay bribes at government departments, and 20% offered money to officials. Finally, in August, terrorists allegedly paid up to $10,000 to members of the Iraqi security forces to get two truck bombs through checkpoints to attack government ministries in Baghdad.
As Transparency International’s Indexes have shown over the years, corruption remains a pressing problem for Iraq. It eats away at the public’s confidence in the government, costs hundreds of millions of dollars for a country desperate for cash for rebuilding and development, and effects security and services. Baghdad and Washington often talk about addressing this issue, but according to Transparency International there has been little progress.
AK News, “Integrity Committee to sue 455 senior Officials,” 11/9/09
Benraad, Myriam, “Iraq’s Enduring al-Qaeda Challenge,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 11/18/09
Inside Iraq, “Officials take bribes, the Government Makes Reports,” McClatchy Newspapers, 9/30/09
Larsa News, “Maliki’s brother arrested in Dubai Airport while trying to smuggle Iraqi Antiquities,” 10/26/09
O’Hanlon, Michael and Campbell, Jason, “Iraq Index,” Brookings Institution, 11/4/09
Transparency International, “Corruption Perceptions Index 2009,” 11/17/09