Corruption in Iraq: An Eyewitness Account

Text and video by Mona Chalabi – 4 June 2012

In 2010, Iraq was ranked 175th out of 178 countries in terms of public perceptions of corruption. In 2011, Iraq again came in 175th place and received the lowest score of any country in the Middle East and North Africa region in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. This year, I travelled across the country to listen to Iraqis and understand why they have so little faith in the integrity of their public sector. (Continue reading to watch video) 

The stories presented in this video are part of a feeling of frustration that pervades Iraq. The security situation alone can not explain this frustration which exists in homes as well as out on streets; corruption is also a crucial factor.

Corrupt practices continue despite the available human and financial resources, signing up to international legal instruments against corruption and proclaiming corruption is “as dangerous a threat to national stability as terrorism.” From the constant power cuts to arbitary arrests, Iraqi daily life is routinely tripped up, pinned down and paralysed by corruption.

Ahead of my paper at the conference organised by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies next month at LSE’s Middle East Centre, these interviews are intended to get people thinking about the relationship between corruption and revolution in Iraq and in the Middle East.

A first version of this account first appeared on LSE’s Middle East Centre blog. 

Mona Chalabi is a political and security risk consultant at INCAS Consulting. Prior to joining INCAS, Mona worked as a Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant at the International Organisation for Migration’s Iraq office, as a Research Analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit and, more recently, as a Researcher evaluating levels of corruption in Iraq and other MENA countries for Transparency International. Mona can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MonaChalabi.


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