Table of contents
This Report consist of a Comparative Analysis of the country Iraq also known by its old name Mesopotamia. This report is divided into different parts starting from the country Iraq’s profile, which consist of it geography, language and other basic facts etc to an analysis of the position of Iraq as a country after its war has ended and what challenges it is facing and how can we overcome those challenges in today's time.
The Republic of Iraq is a country positioned at the northern end of the Gulf that borders Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Kuwait. Iraq’s capital and largest city is Baghdad, in the centre of the country. Although Iraqis generally are a religious and conservative people, there are also strong secular tendencies in the country. Iraq is a Muslim nation.
Iraq is full of cultural diversity, There are many different languages spoken in Iraq, but the overwhelming majority speak Mesopotamian Arabic, also known as Iraqi Arabic. This language, along with Kurdish, is recognised as the official languages in the country.
Iraq has one of the world's oldest cultural histories. Iraq is where the Ancient Mesopotamian civilizations were, whose legacy went on to influence and shape the civilizations of the Old World. Culturally, Iraq has a very long and rich heritage.
The country is known for its poets and its painters and sculptors are among the best in the Arab world, some of them being world-class. Iraq is known for producing fine handicrafts, including rugs and carpets. The architecture of Iraq is seen in the sprawling metropolis of Baghdad, where the construction is mostly new, with some islands of exquisite old buildings and compounds, and elsewhere in thousands of ancient and modern sites across Iraq.
Some of the infamous foods in Iraq are Kebab, Dolma, Biryani, Masgouf (pronounced mezguuf)
Current Prime Minister
The current Prime Minister of Iraq is Adil Abdul-Mahdi, an Iraqi politician who holds most of the executive authority and appointed the Council of Ministers which acts as a cabinet and/or government. Abdul-Mahdi has been the Prime Minister of Iraq since October 2018, he’s an economist and was one of the Vice Presidents of Iraq from 2005 to 2011.
Main Write Up
Chapter 1. Society
Family Oriented Iraqi society is traditionally family oriented. The concept of ‘family’ is more broadly understood in Iraq than in the Western world.
In Iraq each have their own social layers, and no one ethnicity dominates another in a caste system. In terms of social class there is disparity between rich and poor and there are still tensions in the society, which makes it very difficult to reconcile the Sunni and Shia and different ethnic and religious communities, which have been suffering at different periods of the conflict and different places of the conflict.
Relative Status of Women
Gender inequality in Iraq is high, The general Federation of Iraqi women (GFIW) is a government organisation for women having 18 branches, one in each province. The stated goal and mission of this federation was officially to organise women, to promote literacy and higher education, and encourage women in the labour force. Even a law was passed that stated that a woman may be appointed as an officer in the military if she has a University degree in medicine or dentistry or pharmacy.
But however little impact has been made on issues such as polygamy, divorce, and inheritance that affect women as individuals. Many have come to believe that the federation is not really functioning in the interest of women, and instead of trying to improve the situation of women as individuals and to encourage women to liberate themselves, The government seems to use the Federation as a means to exercise control over them.
Women in Politics
In politics Iraq was the first Arab country ever to elect a woman to a parliamentary position. Though an Incredible advancement for women in the Arab world, many believe that rather than exercising real authority she was put in Power to falsely demonstrate the controlling regime as a progressive one. today there are women in politics though legitimacy of their authority is often questioned.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) persons are discriminated to widespread degree. Homosexuality itself has been legal in Iraq since 2003, but openly gay men are not permitted to serve in the military and same sex marriage is illegal. The law In Iraq prohibits discrimination based on race, disability, or social status, but the loophole to this is that it does not address the problem of sexual orientation or gender identity. There is a huge societal discrimination in employment, occupation, and housing based for people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and unorthodox appearance. There isn’t any legal protections against discrimination for LGBT persons that results in them being frequently victims of vigilante justice and honor killings. Even though homosexuality is not officially criminalized but unlike many other countries in the middle east, Open discussion around sexual difference is both rare and discouraged.
Iraq has a strong educational tradition. Education was free at all levels and compulsory through the primary education of six years. Iraq was once recognized for its commitment to educating girls and women, which contributes to the overall literacy rate of nearly 80 percent in the country. The language of instruction is Arabic but English is used in medicine and engineering faculties, Kurdish is also being promoted in the Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
After the overthrow of Hussein, the educational system underwent a reform that included the development of a new curriculum framework that encourages principles such as respect, tolerance, excellence, and creativity, and resulted in increased enrollment. The responsibility for primary and secondary education is of the Ministry of Education, and all aspects of higher education, including technical education are the responsibility of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Following Iraq’s liberation from ISIS, more than three hundred thousand children have returned to school with a high level of enthusiasm. But despite this, the Iraqi government was not doing spending enough on its low education to make education more attainable for more people. In the 2015-16 school year, only 5.7 percent of Iraq’s government expenditure went to education sector which led to half of Iraq’s displaced children being out of school, that created a $1 billion loss in potential wages. Education in Iraq was not always problematic. The respective conflicts have created a void that demolished the education system. With organizations like UNICEF and UNESCO, the main goal is to return Iraq to where it was during The Islamic Golden Age when Baghdad was the epicenter of global intellectualism.
Much work is to be done to bring education back to its former glory. Reforms are underway. Even for the first time Iraq’s Education Ministry has recognized religious minorities in their national school textbooks due to the creation of Alliance of Iraqi Minorities (AIM) which was led by the activism of USIP with the team continuing to work on increasing minority representation within the Iraqi school syllabus.
Chapter 2. Politics
The Iraqi politics framework is made up of a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic. Meaning it’s a multi-party system whereby the executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers as the head of government and by the President of Iraq as well, The legislative power are bestowed upon the Council of Representatives and the Federation Council.
The Constitution of Iraq is basically the law of the country. Iraq’s first constitution was drafted came into existence in 1925 and the current constitution of Iraq was drafted and approved in 2005.
Iraq is a country which is not only burdened by violence but also by corruption that has crippled this war torn country costing Iraq hundreds of billions of dollars. Many politicians have promised a drive against the corruption that keeps rotting Iraq from inside out, but little effort have been achieved and done. Usually when convictions are made it is in absenti of the person or results in imprisonment, while long time punishments, are also very rare.
In the last 10 years, Iraq has undergone a dramatically rapid, and positive transformation and is making progress after decades of war and instability inflicted by Saddam Hussein. In Present the Iraq Republic is set on restoring its natural role as a critical global partner and a stabilizing force in the Middle East. Iraq could be a positive factor player for the regional stability and a friendly, peaceful country that respects national interests and understands the security concerns of our neighbors.
The objectives and priorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are:
- The protection of Iraq's security.
- To Stabilize the country and preserving the territorial integrity of Iraq.
- Restoring international diplomatic bilateral relations.
- Re-engaging with the international community in respect to Iraq's reconstruction and development.
- Reconstruction of Iraq’s economy and infrastructure to raise the people of Iraq’s standard of living.
- Revitalizing Iraq's diplomatic missions.
- To promote Iraq’s political, economic, social, and cultural interests.
- Reunite, and engage the multilateral bodies.
- Making reforms in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its activities based on newly developed principles and values.
- Following the chosen path of democratization within the framework of unity, sovereignty and equal citizenship.
Chapter 3. Economy
Oil was discovered in Iraq in year 1927. Iraq has the 5th largest petroleum reserves in the world which is its most valuable mineral. Oil contributes the largest portion of Iraq’s GDP and accounts for most of Iraq’s foreign exchange. It has usually provided Iraq about 95% of its foreign exchange earnings. In Iraq the main majority of oil reserves comes from its following four oil rich cities:
Other Natural Resources
Iraq is notioned to have untapped resources and minerals, such as gypsum, salt and stone, with addition to large reserves of sulfur. Iraq’s other natural resources also include natural gas, phosphates. Iraq has multiple other industries also such as textiles, chemical, leather and metal processing.
As we know that the fifth largest oil reserve is in Iraq, so the country's growth highly depends on its oil exports. The export of Iraq has now risen to 60 billion dollars with the maximum part of crude oil. On the other hand imports of the country are approximately 35 billion dollars including food, medicine, and manufactured items. The main import partners of Iraq are China, Russia, Turkey, Syria and USA whereas its main export partners are China, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Greece, India and USA.
The increasing poverty rate was one of common campaign issues among the 2018 elections. Years of war and political instability had left communities in ruins, and the oil-dependent economy was in decline. With hundreds of thousands of Iraqi families still stuck in poverty, the new government is still facing challenges to help the families in need. Iraq’s minister of labor and social affairs Bassim Abdul-Zaman gave a recent statement that the ministry is working on expanding the social protection program to include some 450,000 impoverished families.
In Iraq there are about six provinces that are suffering from low living standards and are in need for further social programs and plans. The allocation of more funds are required for the ministry of labor and social affairs 2019 budget. The Iraq government is working on an emergency project which includes three sub-projects that will be implemented in those six provinces. The target of these emergency project will be to provide better livelihood opportunities for the residents and the people returning back to the liberated areas to help them reintegrate in the society.
According to a report from the World Bank, “The standard of living in Iraq has deteriorated and a noticeable share of the population has fallen into poverty or is extremely vulnerable to falling into poverty”
Chapter 4. Security
Cyber threats are a very serious threat to Iraq’s national security. In the era of technology, information security has taken on a major role in preventing and combating any real or discern cyber attack, and no part of state is immune from it, while it also protects the operational systems from any attempts of unauthorised access. The technological development witnessed by Iraq in the field of information and communications after the year 2013, which occurred simultaneously with a weakness in the digital security aspect of the country’s infrastructure (whether its national, banking or personal security), This meant that Iraq and its security agencies became strategically exposed to hacking and spied on by many countries around the world, as well as turning Iraq into a platform for the launch of cyber attacks and hacking operations against third countries information security.
In addition, these breaches were used to steal information for evil purposes, such as aiding and the commissioning of terrorist operations. It should be known that the majority of Iraqi institutions have agreements in place for the processing of information through satellite providers located outside of Iraqi territory, which means that information passes through the these third country’s server before returning to Iraq. This can amount to a breach of Iraq’s information security, and in order to prevent such large scale violations, an integrated information security system is needed and required. Correspondingly, protecting Iraq’s e-security will require the creation of necessary legal and regulatory frameworks and also the organisational structures to back them, as well as providing the technical aspect as well as technological means to support them. This will require private and public sectors, and both domestic and international, working together in sync to protect Iraq’s national cyberspace, with special focus on assuring the availability of information systems, protecting the confidentiality of personal information, enhancing privacy and to take all necessary measures to protect Iraqi citizens from the dangers of cyberspace.
Is the most likely But also the least consequential types of danger, extremist terrorism is the most probable: Militant extremist groups have not yet lost their taste for violence. But at present, no extremist group in Iraq possesses the physical resources, popular support, or foreign backing to carry out a large scale violence or set in motion a fight among Iraq's main groups. So aggression from extremist will not be able to tear apart the basic political order.
Ethnic Conflict Between Kurdish Forces and the Iraqi State
Although it's least probability than extremist violence, armed conflict between any of the mainstream parties in the Iraqi political system could carry the most severe consequence for U.S. interests, because it could blow up the entire political order. There is and always will be the danger and the possibility of an ethnic clash between Iraqi Kurds and the Iraqi state. The downsizing return of U.S. army is creating a window of opportunity and uncertainty in which the Iraqi Security Forces have not yet replaced them and other group’s forces are still relatively strong, compared to the government's. This security gap presents itself as a uncertain period of time.
Chapter 5. Recommendation
Combating corruption: Achieving this will also advance the political, social, and economic situation in the country. While a popular demand, fighting corruption is a long process and needs a lot of time and effort. Baghdad needs to make it clear to the people that combating corruption is more than arresting the corrupt. Iraq cannot do what its neighbour, Saudi Arabia is doing, which is locking up the ‘corrupt’ in a hotel and not letting them go until they pay back what they ‘owe’.
This is not how things are done in a democracy.Furthermore, fighting corruption requires serious reform efforts. One of the side effects of reform is changing the status quo, which is based on delicate political balances. The problem is that for the sake of maintaining these balances, a lot of corruption has been ignored. A serious fight against corruption requires brave decisions that will lead to disruption in the political situation in the country. Therefore, anyone who does attempt to combat corruption will gain political enemies. The challenge is to do the right thing despite all that. It might cost those who take on this challenge a lot of political capital. Nevertheless, when it comes to corruption and real reform no exceptions should apply. Sadly, a lot of politicians in Iraq are not willing to engage in that.
- Immediate and radical solution be given for the lack of services in Basra and other province because lack of services sparkes wide protests.
- More budget should be allocated for the basic services as well as as education sector.
- Reconstruction of infrastructure in post war torn cities.
- More projects for facilitation of people living on and below the poverty line.
- Excessive following of laws in providing gender equality to women and to stop discrimination as well to punish the people by law who are against LGBT rights.
- Find ways to help stop the conflicts between shia and sunni.
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