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Iraqi president calls for anti-ISIS style alliance to fight corruption

Iraqi President Barham Salih says the country has lost more than $US150 billion "smuggled abroad" in corrupt deals since the 2003 US 'Operation Desert Storm' military campaign to displace Saddam Hussein after the then Iraqi dictator invaded Kuwait.

Australia has seen its fair share of connections with alleged corruption in Iraq, from the Cole Inquiry into AWB kickbacks in the 'oil for food scandal' brought to light around the time the invasion began, the Reserve Bank money contract scandal with Iraq in 2013 to Australian links to an oil pipeline bribery scandal exposed in 2018.

Iraq is experiencing a deep economic crisis, compounded by a fall in oil prices, the country's main source of income.

The coronavirus pandemic has also been detrimental to the country’s economy.

In a televised statement, Bahram Salih said:

"The total value of Iraq's crude oil exports since 2003 until now has exceeded 1000 billion dollars, while the scale of corruption is estimated at 150 billion dollars smuggled abroad through deals.
"Corruption and terrorism are inter-related.”

He proposed setting up an international anti-corruption alliance, patterned after a multinational military coalition that fought Islamic State militants in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

He added that he had presented a draft bill to the Iraqi parliament to help retrieve money allegedly smuggled abroad through corruption.

Street protests have sprung up in Iraq since October 2019, with demonstrators calling for an end to corruption and an overhaul of the country's political system, which have been in place since the 2003 Desert Storm campaign.

The protests calmed somewhat after a new government, led by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, were formed in May last year and pledged reforms.


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