The New York Times quotes Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Ramzy Mardini on the Iraqi parliament’s vote on anti-corruption measures and the potential for unintended consequences:
At the same time, the changes could “cut the Sunnis out of a major part of the patronage system,” said Ramzy Mardini, an Iraq expert and nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, a research group in Washington.
Even so, Mr. Mardini said, Sunni leaders appear to be betting that the measures will make Mr. Abadi better able to deliver on promises to the Sunni community, including overhauling the criminal justice system, releasing Sunni detainees and arming Sunni tribes to fight the Islamic State, a step the United States sees as necessary to defeat the militants.
Mr. Abadi has had a hard time making meaningful changes to address Sunni concerns because of opposition from within the Shiite political class. Mr. Maliki, especially, was widely believed to be working behind the scenes to undermine Mr. Abadi.
Mr. Mardini said the new measures were designed in part to “get Maliki more detached from the power structure in Iraq.”