Viewof Baghdad

Political situation Hope of a peaceful future

Since Mohammed Shia al-Sudani was appointed Prime Minister in October 2022, the political situation in Iraq has largely stabilised. Even if the interests of the different political camps differ greatly, the government has been able to tackle a number of overdue reforms. It has been focusing on issues of strategic significance for the future such as economic diversification and the creation of jobs.

According to estimates, in 30 years, the population of Iraq will reach 80 million people – almost double the current figure. This is creating huge challenges for the country, including in the long term. Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani has presented a comprehensive government programme, promising in particular to improve the social and economic situation and fight corruption and inflation. The focus is on strengthening the private sector, creating jobs and training opportunities in particular for young people and improving the general conditions for international investment.

Climate change is an increasingly pressing issue. According to the United Nations, Iraq is one of the five countries worldwide that are most severely affected by climate change. At the same time the country is one of the largest oil producers worldwide and contributes massively to the causes of global warming. The government has recognised the urgent need for action and wants to engage more in climate action.

Governance and human rights

According to its constitution, Iraq is a federal state with a parliamentary democracy. In the past, however, elections were repeatedly manipulated on a massive scale. Corruption is endemic: in 2022, Iraq was 157th – out of a total of 180 countries evaluated – on the Corruption Perceptions Index (External link) compiled by Transparency International.

The independence and functioning of the judiciary is guaranteed to a very limited extent. The government, political parties, religious circles and militias exert influence on jurisprudence. Detainees are regularly mistreated and tortured by the police and in state prisons.

The human rights situation continues to be difficult. Women in Iraq experience political, legal and social discrimination. For example, there are no laws to protect women from domestic violence, forced marriage and “honour killings”. In the case of legislation to protect children there has also been little progress. Child labour, sexual exploitation and child trafficking are widespread.

Critical voices in journalism and civil society have to face intimidation and menace. Journalists who criticise the government are frequently threatened, attacked or arrested. Murders of people working for the media go unpunished. In the 2023 World Press Freedom Index (External link) compiled by the non-governmental organisation Reporters Without Borders Iraq is ranked in 167th place out of 180 countries evaluated.

Security situation

Peace is still fragile in the country. Even if the “Islamic State” (IS) is regarded as having been defeated territorially, the fight against terrorism and specific militias continues. The terrorist organisation is taking advantage of the void created by muddled responsibilities for security in the disputed areas between central Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to rebuild its safe havens and plan attacks in the region.

In response to the advances of the IS in the summer of 2014, a broad alliance of states, the Global Coalition Against Daesh, was formed to fight the terrorist organisation. Germany is a member of this alliance, alongside the US and numerous European and Arab countries. The alliance is pursuing a strategy focusing on political, military and humanitarian aspects and the rule of law. Under the coalition and via NATO, Germany is continuing to support Iraqi security forces with its army.

As at: 31/08/2023