Challenges to Iraq’s New Government

KAS and IRIS publish a series of publications on the government’s reactions to the demands of the Iraqi people

In the summer of 2018, mass protests took place in Iraq, especially in the economic center of Basra, in which the Iraqi people expressed their dissatisfaction with the current situation and the government’s failure to address it. The protesters' demands showed both deep mistrust in government institutions and frustration over the failure to deliver basic services. Above all, the protest movements demanded a reliable supply of electricity and clean drinking water. There were also calls to end the misuse of state funds and to overturn the ethno-sectarian political order in place since 2003. It remains to be seen whether the new political landscape will contribute to more responsible and effective governance.

With its publications, the KAS Syria/Iraq Office aims to provide insights into the new political order and the challenges faced by the new federal government. In view of the protests and demands for the provision of public goods, particular attention will be paid to legislative and ministerial measures affecting electricity, water, infrastructure and the labor market. Furthermore, the publications intend to provide some of the necessary groundwork for a shift in policy debates from matters of security issues to good governance, service delivery, and reconstruction after the military victory over the Islamic state.
 


Policy Report on „Basra’s Protest Movement and Unemployment: Contesting Party Dominance of the Oil Sector“:
Based on interviews with key figures in Basra’s government, oil sector and civil society, the paper addresses the political roots of the unemployment problem, the government response and the unfulfilled hopes of higher wages and employment opportunities of the population after the influx of international oil companies (IOCs) in the Iraqi province. Another problem presented in the paper is the control of the militias and the political parties over the formal and informal generators of revenues and wealth in Basra. The policy report was jointly published by KAS, London School of Economics Middle East Centre, and IRIS. To access the policy report, use the following link.


Basra's Protest Movement and Unemployment: Contesting Party Dominance of the Oil Sector


Policy Report on „Basra’s Political Marketplace: Understanding Government Failure after the Protests“:
While the protests that reached a peak in summer 2018 led to the allocation of state money to Basra and to the tentative empowerment of Basra’s governor to sign off on infrastructure projects, their implementation requires to go through a specific bureaucratic chain. The approvals needed from various authorities that are co-opted by functionaries beholden to political parties make the procedures prone to delays and blockages. The policy report was jointly published by KAS and IRIS. To access the policy report, use the following link. 


Basra's Political Marketplace: Understanding Government Failure after the Protests