Courts undermine Iraq’s rule of law: Daesh ideology still a threat


The Daesh terror group’s ideology is still a threat in Iraq even though the fight against terrorism has ended in military terms, the country’s prime minister said Saturday:

“Our land war with Daesh [aka ISIS or Islamic State] has ended. We have saved all the land of our country and taken control of the Syrian border. But the danger of Daesh’s ideology and sleeper cells remains. I should warn everyone about that,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a speech at a meeting of the Islamic Dawa, Iraq’s ruling party.

Iraq’s counterterrorism law allows the death penalty for anyone “who commits, incites, plans, finances or assists in acts of terrorism.” So Iraqi courts are meting out one-size-fits-all punishment for the perpetrator of crimes against humanity as well for as the wife of an Islamic State fighter who may have had little say in her husband’s career, the New York Times reports.

A Ministry of Justice  initiative for “arbitration” among tribes was not welcomed by civil society, which considered it to be “propaganda” for political parties, undermining the work of Iraqi state institutions, according to activist and blogger Ibrahim al-Fatlawi.

“We live in a country known to have enacted laws 7,000 years ago, so how can we accept projects and decisions that strengthen the power and influence of tribes within the institutions of the Iraqi state?” he asked Al-Monitor.

“After thousands of years of Iraqi civilization, the state comes up with such an initiative for electoral purposes, instead of enacting a proper law approved by the state,” the National Endowment for Democracy’s Rahman Aljebouri told Al-Monitor. “This project is substandard,” he said. “The Iraqi state needs to work in accordance with international mechanisms for human rights and institutional work, and such an effort cannot enhance the role and authority of the law and treat everyone equally.”

On May 12, Iraqis will go to the polls for parliamentary elections that will determine the next prime minister at a critical time when the country has emerged from a three-year war with the Islamic State and must now rebuild the damaged infrastructure and address entrenched corruption that is stifling economic growth, the Atlantic Council adds:

Given the events that followed the Kurdish referendum in September 2017, the issue of disputed territories in Northern Iraq and related energy revenue-sharing disagreements will also fall to the new government to address. Additionally, Iraq’s regional relations that have seen promising improvements in the last few years are expected to be influenced by the election and by the political make-up of the new government. The Atlantic Council invites you for a discussion with a panel of experts on likely post-election dynamics, political alliances to form a new government we may see emerge, political and constitutional reforms the next government needs to adopt, and how the election may impact US-Iraq relations.

Ambassador Feisal al-Istrabadi, Founding Director, Center for the Study of the Middle East, Indiana University – Bloomington

Credit; ACUS

Ambassador Rend al-Rahim, Co-Founder and President, Iraq Foundation

Dr. Harith Hasan Al-Qarawee, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council

Ambassador Ryan Crocker, Visiting Lecturer and Diplomat-in-Residence, Princeton University

Introductory remarks by:
Mr. Frederick Kempe, President and CEO, Atlantic Council

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator)
Washington, DC


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