Iraqi PM and defence minister vow to combat corruption in army
As part of a wider campaign to combat corruption within the Iraqi army, Iraqi prime minister and commander-in-chief of the armed forces Mohammed Shia al-Sudani on Sunday ordered high ranking army commanders to live closely with Iraqi soldiers and report any shortcomings in logistics to their seniors within one month.
The step comes after Iraq's Minister of Defense Thabet Muhammad al-Abbasi made several unannounced visits to military sites using civilian cars as a disguise.
Al-Abbasi on Sunday sacked the commander and the director of intelligence of Taji military camp over negligence and corruption, the minister said in a statement. Located north of Baghdad, the base was handed over to the Iraqi army after the withdrawal of the US forces in 2020.
The minister vowed to continue his inspections via civilian cars to follow up on the living conditions of the Iraqi soldiers and to treat "the corrupt in whatever ranks with an iron fist."
According to Transparency International, Iraq is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It has been ranked 157 out of 180 most corrupt nations in 2022.
The minister on Wednesday met with Haydar Hanun, head of Iraq's Commission of Integrity, as part of the drive to combat corruption in the military institution.
"During a meeting we reaffirmed our resolve to address all corruption dossiers in our ministry to the integrity commission," he said in a statement.
Early this year a leaked video depicting Iraqi soldiers walking several kilometres to their service headquarters without a vehicle prompted an investigation by the Iraqi defence ministry.
The video shows 13 soldiers on periodic leave walking up to six kilometres from their camp to a main road in search of a vehicle to transport them to their places of service.
The exhausted soldiers are heard complaining, criticising the government and accusing their leaders of negligence.
Service in the armed forces was mandatory in Iraq from 1935 to 2003, when a US-led invasion toppled former dictator Saddam Hussein, disbanding the army and security services.