Iraq’s parliament has referred to the judiciary a report by the Committee of Defence and Security. It calls for the trial of former
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and more than 30 other top officials in
connection with the fall of Mosul to Islamic State last year.
According to the report, Maliki had an inaccurate picture of the
threat to the northern city because he chose commanders who
engaged in corruption and failed to hold them accountable.
Many Iraqis in Baghdad seemed happy with this decision.
“All the participants in the former political process were responsible for the fall of Mosul and other parts of the country and for the economic deterioration which Iraq has been passing through. The past ominous political process is what brought us to such an abyss,” said one Baghdad resident.
So far, there has been no official accounting for how Mosul was lost, or who gave the order to abandon the city.
Islamic State’s seizure of Iraq’s second city in June 2014 as it swept
across the Syrian border and declared a modern “caliphate”,exposed the failings of a governing system defined largely by
sectarian party patronage.
After a year in office, Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi is
seeking to transform a system he complains has spawned
corruption and incompetence, undermining government forces in the battle against Islamic State fighters.
On Sunday, he ordered military commanders to face a court martial
for abandoning their positions in Ramadi.
The capital of western Anbar province fell to the jihadists in May. Since then, efforts to reconquer the city have left the Baghdad government largely dependent on Shi’ite Muslim militias. Many are
funded and assisted by neighbouring Iran.
This situation could expose the prime minister to further pressure from Tehran.
‘‘It is clear that Tehran is now interfering to hamper the arrest or trial of Nouri al-Maliki. This seems clear through the efforts exerted by political blocs and other pressures put on Iraq by Iran to hinder his pursuit,” says political analyst Hisham al-Hashimi.
For a month now, Iraqis have taken to the streets every week to vent their frustration over corrupt officials and at the lack of basic services.
But the power struggle between the different Iraqi factions threatens to undermine al-Abadi’s ambitious government overhaul.