Interviewed by Massar Abdelmohsen Rady
Baghdad – Haider al-Abadi came to the compartment of the Iraqi government presidency by a political agreement in 2014, to redeem the political process from the fist of Nouri al-Maliki.
Everyone expected according to the apparent ice of his policies; he would be just an arbitrator between the politicians who playing in the Iraqi arena, to guarantee that the spaces of influence will be divided between them fairly.
The Financial crisis which he took it from his predecessor, and the threats of " ISIS", declared another face for him. The most important achievement for him -my evaluation- that he was not a creator of crises upon his size, like his comrade in the same party; Islamic Daawa Party, to enjoy solving them after that. He directed his legs to the treatment of real crises.
I am not so optimistic about the Iraqi political elites, and I found generally that the Iraqi "Shiite" elites, couldn't and maybe they will never could run a complicated country like Iraq. But maybe that the experience of al-Abadi in the administration for the institutions of the Iraqi state, deserve to be scrutinized for the sake of intellectual advantage, and to see the benefits of lowering the ratio of the horrendous sectarianism which prevailed in the Iraqi political process after 2003 and still.
Question: As a former prime minister; you have received a treasury almost
Empty from your predecessor, add to that the war's costs against “ISIS", but the salaries of the employees in the state's institutions don't entered in political action, and we have not seen a leap in the exchanges rates of Iraqi Dinar in front of the buck. The present government announced before months that it saved employee salaries for the rest of 2020, then it came back to say that it needs external borrowing for that purpose!?
- Actually, I took over the responsibility in 2014 with treasury minus (3) three Billion dollars. We could with people's mettle, achieved the duties of liberation and salvaged the country from ruin, bankruptcy, and sectarianism.
I delivered the government in 2018, and the state was on the recovery rails, and with a cash surplus (14) fourteen Billion dollars. We preserved the economy from collapse and the Iraqi Dinar from lowering his value. And thought of losing the rates of oil prices for Two-thirds (the price became less than 30 dollars). Secured employee's salaries, preserved the exchange rate of the dollar, raise the roof of social welfare, supplied the basics of life for displaced and martyr's families, and we started with restoration of stability and reconstruction in liberated regions (1118) projects.
Our anti-corruption and financial waste policies owned fruits also; minimized the total operational budget by (38%), enhanced the performance of service institutions by (71%) to foster productivity.
The ratio of poverty dropped by (2.5 %) in 2018, and the submission for the easy loan project; about (6) six Trillion Iraqi dinar for youth and housing. nearly (8) Trillions has been paid for constructors and farmers, as executable bonds to mobilize the markets.
We launched (5) Trillions to activate industrial, agricultural, and commercial sectors, and we raise the credential rate of Iraq for the first time at the global level. What I want to say: the government can succeed in the administration of crises if it was effective and implemented good governance.
We raised the level of financial reserves from (42) forty-two Billion dollars in 2014 to (50) fifty Billion dollars in 2018.
For records and fairness that the present government doesn't responsible for the current financial deficit. It inherited a heavy legacy from its ex-peer. It is enough to indicate that the payrolls in my era were (40) Trillions but Jumped in Adil Abdul-Mahdi era to (61) Trillions, and without the existence of transparent data, about this increase and its doors.
Borrowing; is not the safest solution; it is a catastrophic policy that will lead to financial collapse, if borrowing necessary, it should transforming it into productive not consumer borrowing.
The government of al-Kadhimi has an economic and existential challenge; it should monitoring the spending, surrounding the waste, and aggrandizing its financial resources.
Question: there is information that the need for this external borrowing, came from an allied political party for Mustafa al-Kadhimi, threaten to stop supporting him if he doesn't approve of it?
- I don't know that, and it is the tone of conspiracy theorists. The losing of the monetary mass because of the drooping in oil prices, and the increasing of the operational budget, behind the policy of borrowing, and I repeat: it is a failed and dangerous policy. We can with a courageous procedure avoid a shortage of financial liquidity and passing it with the least losses.
Enough to indicate that the financial imports from Iraq's ports only, can be increasing if they censored and regulated centrally in the whole Iraqi's regions, besides the huge financial returns from the sectors of telecom and general taxes, if both well managed. They are possible solutions and within reach.
Question: let's go to the Iraqi street; in your opinion, the intensity of demonstrations of October 2020 will be different from 2019, and if the political ears still gambling upon distorting their voices which reached to the international community, with the accusation that it ignited by foreign agendas?
- We and from the first day sided with and supported the October uprising, rejected the skepticism and treachery accusations for it, demanded the dismissal of Adil Abdul-Mahdi government, because it's bloody treats, and we launched many national initiations, to get out from the crisis.
The policy of distortion and treachery will not work, and the deafness stance will never bring any feasibility. The factors that drove the young peoples to squares, genuine and lingering in their essence without serious treatments, and maybe the numbers of peaceful protesters will increase or decrease, but that doesn't mean the crisis is over.
There must be major reforms in the state's body and the structure of the political system, to guarantee the creation of effective governance, capable of responding to challenges, and for the advancement of state again.
Question: the leader of the Sadrist movement, demanded the demonstrators this year with conditions; which if they not implemented; declared he will allow for himself to confront them violently. Even what the Sadrist movement did with Baha Araji, after his last statement regarding the normalization with Israel, interpreted by observers as rehearsal directed to demonstrators!?
- I don't agree with this opinion; the peaceful and commitment demonstrations a constitutional right, and the people should demanding, monitoring, and hold accountable… this one of the foundations of living peoples. Demonstrations are civilized expression, its alternative the coup, rebellion, or chaos.
We with a demonstration as a right for country's citizens, and as a pressure tool for revisionism and reformation, but also any demonstrations should hold a specific goal, cleared commitments, and responsible, or it will turn to pointless and chaos.
Question: Why Al-Nasr coalition supporting the early elections, despite Iraq not owning the appropriate conditions… like a sober electoral law, or the reality that the parliament will resolve himself, add to that the security and economic instability?
- I demanded early election, to get out from the neck of crisis, and to guarantee the producing of a new governance equation viable to live, and can stand against crises. But that doesn't mean accept it under any circumstances; without guarantee requirements for the safety, integrity, and fairness of elections, it will be a disaster for the state.
Question: the influence of Iran upon Iraq, became deep and ingrained, by
The armed militia which belongs to it ideologically and we saw what they did on many occasions. The last one was the burned of KDP headquarter in Baghdad. What al-Kadhimi government can do to confront that?
- The case deeper than an Iranian influence, American, Turkish, or Saudis. The crisis-related to the structure of the political system, which is based on component's equations, quotas, and the swallowing of state parties, and distracting the center's resolution.
Regulate the governance with essential reforms, serious and determined, and practicing the effective governance in administrating the authority, will lead to foster the state's action, and the sovereignty for their resolutions and its policies, domestically and internationally.
Question: If the administration of the white house changed from republican to democratic ones, how this will reflect on the reality of dealing with Iraq. Is there a possibility that the Iraqi's card can be saved from the flames of struggle among Washington and Tehran?
- Iraq in his present position a respondent of pressure not doer, and falls under the influence of major strategies; internationally and regionally ones.
We hope that we will see responsible and conscious policies from the regional and international resolution centers, to spare Iraq the risks of interest conflict. I say it to the whole resolution centers: beware from letting Iraq paid the bill of your uncalculated conflicts, the losses will return on you… sooner or later, and you will lead your countries interests to chaos and collapse.
Iraq is the cornerstone and the center of the region, and the stupid rush for making him a conflict's backyard, settling accounts, and executed contradicted agendas, will lead to the collapse of the whole region's equations.
Question: The ex-American president; Barrack Obama, announced in
Interview with him on Bloomberg, which seemed a decisive opinion that the Middle East busied with his sub-identities “sectarianism" more than his will in decent living. Isn't that an explicit admission that there is a political stream in the US found it is more useful leaning on Ankara and Tehran leadership for the region from a sectarianism perspective?
- Obama policy was established upon the idea of the “Great Middle East" and the most important pivots; was divided the region into sectarian fronts: Turkish and Iranian; as pivots of influence and administration for conflicts. The reality proved its failure.
Unfortunately; sectarianism is one of the most important pillars of governance equations in the region; inside their countries and among them. It is purely political sectarianism, want for it to take root socially, and the international resolution centers worked on it, and hired it for her advantage.
Question: The European Union; talk too much about Iraq but with fewer deeds. According to your political experience, can Brussels play a genuine role in Iraq?
- That was before 2015, but just Europe stung with the fires of terrorism and immigration directly, we touched a turning point in European policy toward our crises. I think the European role is growing, and the indicates related also with the results of American elections, the conflict of Europe with Russia and China, and the troubling Turkish role in the region.
Question: your administration for the crisis of secession which done by KDP was proper. Also what you did for the sticking files with Iraq's Kurdistan region. It was as I evaluated personally, carried the attributes of statesman craft. The present government and in Sinjar accord, turn back the clock?
- We are not with recent government policy, which handled the pending files with KRG, and Sinjar accord one of them. We saw an ambiguity and services exchange in it. This will never establish transparent relationships and solid ones, and never resolving the problem.
It mustn't be understood from my words, that I sclerotic toward Kurd. No; I stand with the fair constitutional solutions, to guarantee coexistence, peace, and prosperity for everyone. I am not an enemy for the Kurd; I stand with my Kurdish people, his historical struggle, and his true demands. I just demanded and exercised my constitutional duties, in preserving the unity of the state's lands and its sovereignty, and achieving justice and equality for the whole state's citizens, with their religious, sectarian, and national diversity.
The ruler should be honest in his judgment, and not biased towards one side, or exchange favors at the expense of the interests of people and state. That’s what I did, and the other tried distortion it and misrepresentation for it.
My problem was with the beneficial powers not with people. I want and still to liberate the people and state from using and guiding both for narrow interests.
Question: The American green light which never turning red for Kurdish policies… the good and bad ones, it's a reason that the Shiite party was untrustworthy and represented what is like a local Iranian government!?
- I don't agree with this opinion, there is no green light for anyone. Yes; you can hire the variables to achieve immediate interests in conflict administration. But there are no strategic shift instances until now according to my knowledge.
Question: Iraq's Arabs relationships lost between the train of statements and regional balance stations. Of course, we knew the launch station must be the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Isn't it the time for the Iraqi politicians to reconcile with geography and history facts?
- For history records; the regime in Iraq after 2003, initiated openness on Saudi and Arabs periphery, and the repulse was Arabic more than being Iraqi. With accumulations, shifts, and the increased influence for this or that country, we have seen a developing in Arabs stances, and Saudi one of them; precisely after 2014.
The Iraqi- Arab relationships advanced great strides, and there is still a lot in front of it to be done. This matter is up to the wisdom of their leaderships, their realistic perceptions for interests, and its balanced management for conflicts, and rehabilitation of the Iraqi-Arab relationships. Launch them is a joint Iraqi Arab responsibility and it is not purely Iraqi.
Question: if the present or coming US administration found that the countering of Iranian influence in Iraq cost too much, will we witness the birth of the Western Region?
-This is a domestic agenda for some politicians, and the conditions are not ready yet for the birth of new ones.
Question: Ankara can play a positive role in Iraq, what your opinion about the continuation of their military operations against the terrorist PKK, which penetrates the Iraqi borders to unprecedented depth?
-Turkey playing a dangerous game in Iraq, and it continues with the violation policy against the Iraqi sovereignty, by entering its forces to Iraqi territories and centering in them. The reactions of recent government not enough, and there is more than one card that Iraq can use in the management of conflict with Turkey.
I will say to Turkey and everyone who permits himself to intervene in Iraq violated his sovereignty and tampering his people's capabilities: your countries will not survive from Iraqi repercussions, and the game will turn on you.
Question: can Iraq have an economic good relationship with Beijing without provoking Washington. Or with frankly words: is Iraq allowed that?
-On 20/ 12/ 2015 I visited China, and opened the era of relationships, by signing a huge agreement. The case relating to the capacity of the Iraqi regime and the ruler on achieving the balance and interests by wisdom and realistic approach, and there is no "VETO" upon strong Iraq in developing his relations with any state in the world.
* Massar Abdelmohsen Rady, an Iraqi Journalist, Narrator; published two books, worked as executive editor-in-chief for Iraq Alyoum newspaper for more than 15 years, write in Arabic and occasionally in English, he published in many Iraqis and Arabs platforms, the political researcher focused on MENA generally, hosted regularly on Iraqi and Arabs TV channels, and you can reach him on Twitter: @ voice chorus or by e: [email protected]