Iraq: New Government, Old Problems

Adil Abd al-Mahdi was confirmed as Iraqi Prime Minister late on 24 October as he managed to secure parliamentary approval for the bulk of his cabinet nominees. His predecessor Haidar al-Abadi is undeniably bequeathing Mr Abd al-Mahdi a more stable situation than the one he inherited in 2014 ( MEES, 12 September 2014 ). But the new PM faces a daunting array of challenges nonetheless.

The most glaring is the need for massive reconstruction of Iraq in the wake of the conflict with Islamic State (IS), and indeed from Iraq’s decades-long recent history of conflict. The current price-tag is $88bn ( MEES, 12 October ).

But development will be stymied unless Mr Abd al-Mahdi can make inroads against the corruption that is endemic within Iraq’s political class. And here he will face an uphill task given that, unlike his predecessors, the PM lacks a base within parliament. His appointment was effectively sealed by an agreement between the two political leaders whose blocs performed strongest in the May election - Muqtada al-Sadr (Sairoun) and Hadi al-Amiri (Fatah). (CONTINUED - 1150 WORDS)