Welcome to IraqiGovernment.org
As you probably already know, the country of Iraq has been in the news for the past few years. This is definitely a country that is going through quite a bit of changes. However, unlike the stuff that you hear about in the news, there's actually a lot more going on beneath the surface.
Just like with any other place in the world, it’s much easier to hear about disasters, negative things, and all sorts of less than flattering news from certain regions. That’s the kind of news that tends to travel faster.
But as you are aware, in your local area, there is a lot more good news than bad news. Iraq is no different. Most of the news happening in our country is actually quite good.
Accordingly, iraqigovernment.org seeks to present a realistic picture of the comings and goings in Iraq. Not only do you get an accurate view of the political action here, you also get an insider’s look as to what’s going on in the ground.
Iraq in it's Golden Years
There is a lot to cover. Recently, Iraq has gone through quite a massive political change. This is not the kind of political change that you hear about in the news. Usually, you hear about all sorts of military action, you hear all sorts of counter insurgency or rebel activities. While that’s definitely part of the news, that is a tiny fraction of what’s going on here in the political scene.
Recently, we just switched to a federal system. This is a very big deal for us because a federal form of government enables Iraqi citizens at the regional and local level to govern themselves. This is almost unheard of in our history.
Accordingly, we are hopeful about the future because now, instead of a national government being run by a particular ethnic or religious minority, every region has its own distinct government. This government is closer to the people and reflects the sectarian as well as ethnic, linguistic background of the region.
It is our hope that with this federal setup, there will be less opportunity for violence. A lot of the violence has been due to the fact that we were a unitary government for so long. That one-size-fits-all style of governance did not serve Iraq well.
As you probably already know, Iraq has many different ethnic groups. It also has different sects within Islam. For the longest time, it was a Sunni-held government, but there is a huge number of Shia Muslims. Thanks to our new federal setup, political and economic governance takes place on a regional basis. This goes a long way in addressing all these religious as well as economic differences.
One of the long standing source of conflict in our country involved access to resources. For the longest time, everything was run from Baghdad, which did not really produce much oil. A lot of the outer regions that did produce oil felt slighted. They felt exploited. They felt overlooked because all the resources were going only one way, and that is to Baghdad. Well, that has changed, thanks to our federal system.
We are very hopeful that this new structure would enable people to get a voice at the regional level. Instead of having to pick up a gun, they only need to pick up a pen and participate in elections. Ballot, not bullets is the new norm in Iraq. We are looking forward to a better future, thanks to our federal system of governance.
With that said, the economic development in this country needs a lot of work. All government officials, from the highest echelons of power all the way to local rank and file bureaucrats understand this. This is also the reason why a lot of regional players are quite excited about federalism.
Under this new setup, each region would be able to set up their own economic policies. Some regions would try to retain the old way of doing things. Other regions will try to experiment with a more open trade as well as labor policy.
We look at many different models and it really all boils down to the regional government. If a government wants to be the next Singapore, they are more than equipped to try that out. If another region wants to follow the South Korean development model, they are definitely entitled by the federal law to go down that path. This is what’s so exciting about federalism because there is no longer a one-size-fits-all unitary approach to problems.
Back before the war
Back in the bad old days, local problems had to be brought to the national level for funding. And by the time the money gets to the regions, there’s not enough money to go around. There’s also not enough money to take care of the problem, so another budget has to be drawn up, and on and on it went.
Not anymore. Now, all revenues generated at the regional level, pretty much stay in the regional level except for a relatively small amount that goes to the national government.
The role of the national government under the new federal setup simply revolves around issues of national defense and international relations. While the military will always be controlled by a central government, in terms of local police and local law and order, the regions are in charge.
This is very crucial because the main reason why ISIS got big in Iraq was because a lot of Sunni Muslims who used to run the government and the military felt sidelined by the new Shia-dominated government. Now, thanks to federalism, Sunni regions will have their own Sunni police force, and this can go a long way in preserving peace and order at the local and regional level.
Again, the whole idea here is for people to pick up the pen at the ballot box instead of picking up a gun and using bullets instead of ballots. We look forward to seeing how federalism will transform Iraq. Currently, there are already positive and hopeful signs.
Thanks to the switch to federalism, our economy started growing again. Jobs started appearing because of the local, regional-based investment. Instead of people having to go to Baghdad just to get a job or to go overseas, local investment, both from foreign investors and investors within Iraq have started clustering in regional areas.
The future looks bright, according to these initial indicators. We hope that these initial positive signs will continue to scale up and grow in the future. It is our hope that federalism will turn the page on a very bloody, disturbing and violent chapter of Iraqi history.
We modeled our system on places like Canada, Australia and Switzerland. Hopefully, we can gain a lot of the peace, stability and order of those places while retaining a distinctly Muslim and Iraqi character.