Source: The Manifesto Group
This Manifesto is the product of three years of reflection and debate, culminating in intense activity throughout 2017. The leading author of the Manifesto has been Prof. Ali Allawi working in close consultation and collaboration with his co-authors, Dr. Abbas Kadhim and Dr. Luay Al-Khatteeb. This team was engaged in extensive debate of its various sections and conducted comprehensive series of meetings, workshops, and consultation efforts with various Iraqi groups and individuals inside and outside Iraq. These included statesmen and diplomats, politicians and senior civil servants, lawmakers and specialists, academics and intellectuals, teachers and students, businessmen & businesswomen and bankers, writers and thinkers, clerics and social leaders, farmers and workers, activists and union members, officers and judges –people who come from all walks of life and share a burning desire to see our country set on the right path to peace, security, prosperity and justice. They reject the politics of division, and the branding of any of our communities as enemies. All of those involved in the debate agreed on the importance of introducing a comprehensive platform for reform and change in Iraq and the urgency of doing so immediately.
We gratefully acknowledge the observations, comments and insights of all those who gave of their time and energy to the formulation of the Manifesto through its many drafts. We extend our hand to all those who want to turn decisively the page towards a new future. We do not ignore the pain and sufferings of the past, but we will not dwell on it. We have to move on. Our eyes are firmly fixed towards the future. We must transcend the bitterness of the past in a shared plan of action that is optimistic, ambitious and realizable.
The Manifesto is the blue print for this plan.
Friday 22nd December 2017
Download the full text (PDF documents, in English or Arabic) of The Manifesto – A Plan For National Regeneraton
Nearly fifteen years after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the country is now facing its most crucial test of survival. Daesh has been defeated thanks to the bravery and heroism of all the forces fighting under Iraq’s flag, the resistance of the communities and tribes to Daesh’s savagery , and the acts of courage and defiance of ordinary individuals and families. It has been a costly victory, leaving in its wake tens of thousands killed and wounded, millions displaced and living in atrocious conditions, and immense devastation to towns and cities. This horrific and tragic episode in our history was greatly enabled by the appalling mismanagement and corruption that has been endemic to Iraq since 2003. However, its origins go further, back to the dictatorships and tyrannies that marked the decades before. Iraq has been continuously in a state of crisis for over 50 years. We have been racked with coups, wars, insurrections, sanctions and isolation, invasion and occupation, suicide bombings, mass killings, population displacements and expulsions. All forms of violence have been inflicted relentlessly on the public. No community has emerged unharmed or unscathed from this legacy. Our people have been battered; our lands ravaged; our cities and towns ruined; our economy shattered; our rivers drained; our waters polluted; our natural resources squandered; our historical monuments destroyed; our religious sites desecrated. Generations of our young are condemned to unemployment, poor job prospects, or dead-end positions in over-staffed government departments. Our governments have become a byword for dysfunction, incompetence, lying and corruption, presided over by unqualified and unaccountable people. Billions are spent on projects that don’t materialise, are shoddily executed or abandoned unfinished; social welfare programs designed to help the poor are systematically looted; weapon purchases are mired in huge bribes and kickbacks; government-supplied services, whether it is for electricity , education, health, water and sewerage, or waste disposal are abysmal. Iraqis are very poorly housed. There is a critical shortage of basic dwellings for our people. Illegal and dangerously built slum housings proliferate everywhere. Our natural environment is blighted; desertification is spreading remorselessly.
Political chaos and fragmentation reign supreme. Thuggery, unremitting greed, violence, deviousness and betrayals are the hallmarks of our politics. It has been reduced to an ignoble profession, held in contempt by our people. The airwaves and social media are full of lies and character assassinations. Political parties are vehicles for the vainglory of individuals and families. Others easily betray their founding principles for the sake of power and enrichment. All parties are patronage-dispensing machines that have flooded the state with armies of ill- equipped people. The opposition to the post 2003 disorder masks itself with the rhetoric of resistance but is in reality violent, irredentist and murderous, unwilling to consider its own part in the downfall of the country. The interference in the country’s affairs by outsiders is brazen. But much worse is the open and despicable kowtowing to foreign powers by our political leaders. The capitals of the nearby states are gathering grounds for those who rule, have ruled or seek to rule, our country. And far away, superpowers and regional powers all conspire or aspire to put their mark of ownership on Iraq. Our future is debated in faraway international forums; our economy is a prisoner to international creditors and financiers.
Our professional and intellectual elites are targetted by assassins and hounded into exile. Our cultural life is barren. Many of our creative and talented artists, writers and thinkers are in self- imposed exile or have withdrawn in disgust and despair. Others, unforgivably, have added to the poisonous hatreds that have nearly destroyed our ability to co-exist as a harmonious entity. Such so-called intellectuals have worked assiduously to destroy mutual understanding amongst our people. Even while claiming to right the wrongs, they have disfigured, reduced, and degraded the very ideals whose representatives they were. They have turned harrowing narratives of oppression and discrimination into instruments of the egotistical interests of a political or social group. These tragic episodes of our common history have been disfigured and debased by unscrupulous people and manipulated in their pursuit of power and gain.
Our diversity has been undermined. The pre-2003 order withheld rightful citizenships from
hundreds of thousands of people, expelled entire communities on spurious grounds, and drove millions into exile. Multitudes were killed indiscriminately and mass graves were filled with the bodies of tens of thousands of the innocent. The post-2003 order has continued to preside over communitarian hatreds and marginalisation of entire groups of people. Vile practices which were committed directly by the state are now committed by non-state actors, terrorists, ordinary criminal gangs and out-of-control militias. There are still unacceptable numbers of our people who have been driven abroad or are seeking to leave the country. Minorities, the young, as well as the multitudes that see the state as institutionally biased against them, do not see a future for themselves in the country. The millions of Iraqis in the diaspora, a vital resource for the reconstruction of the country, are ignored. They watch this unfolding drama with anxiety and trepidation. The very identity of the country is slipping away.
Traditional religious authorities have heroically stood up against the enveloping chaos and violence. They have called for moderation, temperance, unity and common sense. But their voices have been often drowned by different agendas that demonise the other, that turn a sense of victimhood into a license to dispossess and murder. The moral teachings of religion have been twisted into their parody. The consequences have been dire. Religious justifications are given for nihilism, extreme violence and cruelty, self-segregation and abominable practices. This will only pave the way to irreligion and the loss of our ethical moorings.
From the authors of The Manifesto
The internet and social media were once hailed for creating new opportunities to spread democracy and freedom. But authoritarian regimes soon began cracking down on internet freedom. They feared the brave new digital world, because it was beyond the reach of their analogue security establishments. Their fears proved unfounded. In the event, most social media-enabled popular uprisings failed for want of effective leadership, and traditional political and military organizations retained the upper hand. Technology does not stand still, and nor should democracy.read more
ISIS threat ‘is going to morph’ and possibly go underground in Iraq, says Maj.-Gen. Mike Rouleauread more
Government corruption provided Daesh and local militias with the umbrella they needed to seize power in Iraq, officials and lawmakers told Arab News on Thursday. They said Iraq’s security and political stability will remain threatened as long as corrupt officials continue to control the country’s assets. Iraq is high on the list of the most corrupt countries. The Iraqi Parliamentary Committee of Integrity told Arab News that the estimated value of “looted” amounts during the past 12 years has been more than $200 billion.read more
US companies are eager to strengthen bilateral cooperation with Iraq in all industrial sectors, especially in oil and gas, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil said on Thursday after US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman met with Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi. Al-Luaibi invited US companies to take part in tenders called by the Iraqi ministry and said Iraq was preparing more favorable work conditions for foreign companies investing and doing business in Iraq, Oil Price reported. The two US supermajors, ExxonMobil and Chevron, already have operations in parts of Iraq. Exxon signed an agreement in 2010 with Iraq’s South Oil Company to redevelop and rehabilitate the West Qurna I Oilfield in southern Iraq.read more
Mr Al Abadi has faced internal pressures to postpone the elections for at least six months but is adamant they will go ahead. Iraqi prime minister Haider Al Abadi has assured the nation that parliamentary and provincial elections will be held in Iraq in May as scheduled. Mr Al Abadi has faced internal pressures from the State of Law Coalition and the Union of Sunni forces in addition to Kurdish parties to postpone the elections for at least six months, Al Hayat, the pan-Arab newspaper reported. But in his weekly press conference, the prime minister dismissed any doubts, saying, “The cabinet today reiterated that provincial and parliamentary elections will be held on 12 May 2018.,” Mr Al Abadi said. “There is no reason for delaying the elections.”read more