Despite its immense oil wealth, Iraq’s chronic instability and misgovernance have rendered it one of the poorest and most troubled countries in the region. Electricity, water, and other basic government provisions are spotty at best, and the lack of a viable private sector leaves unemployment – particularly for the youth – troublingly high.

Recent governments have sought to implement reforms, but have been stymied by political factionalism. Former Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s government managed to bag $30bn in reconstruction pledges in 2018 only to see little-to-none of this cash disbursed by international donors (MEES, 16 February 2018). He was unable to push the necessary reforms through parliament, and a number of his initiatives to curb inefficiencies prompted mass protests (MEES, 2 September 2016). (CONTINUED - 772 WORDS)