(Photo credit: AFP)
Iraq’s newly elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, has issued several orders, which include the canceling of financial allocations to his office, the shutdown of several Iraqi embassies in foreign countries, and the withdrawal of the protection services of all former presidents, prime ministers, and parliament speakers.
“The forces assigned to protect Mustafa Kadhimi, the former prime minister, has received orders to withdraw and leave its position near his home in the Green Zone,” an anonymous Iraqi military official told media on 18 November.
On 19 November, Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat quoted a source saying that Sudani’s order to withdraw the protection services would apply to all presidents, prime ministers, parliament speakers, and ministers appointed after the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq.
In other words, the prime minister’s decision would apply to all former officials appointed directly by the US following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government. This includes former Prime Minister Iyad al-Allawi, the first US-appointed Iraqi prime minister after the invasion, Nuri al-Maliki, Haydar al-Abadi, Mustafa Kadhimi, and several other officials.
Additionally, the prime minister has slashed two and a half million dinars from the salaries of his ministers and the members of his administration in a bid to reduce excessive government spending.
Iraq will also shut down 20 of its embassies abroad due to the limited number of Iraqi expatriates in those countries.
The embassies drain Baghdad’s annual budget, representing political corruption and nepotism, given that most ambassadors and the employees of embassies are “often sons, brothers, or in-laws of senior officials.”
Sudani’s latest orders – which come as part of his anti-corruption measures and restructuring of the state – have reportedly shocked the Iraqi political establishment and are likely to be met with suspicion by Washington and its appointees.
The US is already wary of working with Sudani’s government, and said that it would boycott any talks with officials linked to what it called ‘terrorist groups,’ in reference to members of the Coordination Framework (CF), many of who have links to resistance groups which fought the US army at the height of the occupation.