Iraq’s prominent Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has called for the implementation of real reform in a bid to prevent untoward consequences, including a possible partition of the country.
“Today, if true reform is not realized by fighting corruption without mercy and realizing social justice on different levels, it is expected that circumstances will become worse than before,” Grand Ayatollah Sistani said in a written statement from his office in the holy shrine city of Najaf on Thursday.
He added that Iraq could be “dragged to… partition and the like, God forbid.”
The top cleric further noted that corruption has taken a heavy toll on Iraq in the fight against the Daesh Takfiri group.
The terrorist organization would not have been able to control swathes of the Iraqi territory without endemic corruption, especially in security forces, and the misappropriation of power by senior authorities, Ayatollah Sistani pointed out.
On August 14, the top Iraqi Shia cleric voiced his support for a recent set of reforms by the country’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, saying, however, that more such measures are needed to eradicate corruption in the country.
“We appreciate that (the reform package), and hope that these decisions are implemented in the near future,” Grand Ayatollah Sistani said.
The Iraqi parliament unanimously approved Abadi’s proposals aimed at uprooting corruption and reducing government costs on August 11.
As part of the comprehensive reform plan, the two key positions of vice president and deputy prime minister will be removed. The plan also calls for a “comprehensive and immediate reduction” in the number of bodyguards of the president, ministers, parliament speaker, members of parliament and prime minister.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s anti-corruption court says it is investigating over 90 lawsuits, some of which against former and current members of the parliament. The court, however, added that it cannot summon the MPs because of their parliamentary immunity.