Iraqi prime minister vows to stamp out corruption after Sistani's criticism

World Saturday 09/January/2016 20:15 PM
By: Times News Service
Iraqi prime minister vows to stamp out corruption after Sistani's criticism

Baghdad: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi on Saturday pledged to stamp out corruption this year amid criticism from the nation's top cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, that his government has done little to combat graft.
Sistani enjoys high stature among millions of followers and wields authority few Iraqi politicians would openly challenge.
Corruption within the officers corp was one of the reasons of the Iraqi army's failure to oppose the sweaping advance of IS in 2014, according to the findings of an ad-hoc parliamentary committee.
"2016 is the year of eliminating corruption, there is no such things as acceptable corruption and non-acceptable corruption," Abadi said in a speech at a ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of the Iraqi police force in Baghdad.
Sistani on Friday renewed his calls to the government to reform the administration and combat corruption.
"A year has lapsed and nothing has been achieved on the ground," his representative, Sheikh Ahmed Al Safi, told the people in Karbala, south of Baghdad.
Meanwhile Abadi said more than 60 per cent of sorties against IS are carried out by the nation's air forces and about 40 per cent by the US-led coalition.
Iraq's army last month scored its first success against IS when it recaptured, with air support from the coalition, the city centre of Ramadi. Until then, it was the militias that were leading the fight against the hardline militants.
Speaking at a ceremony in Baghdad broadcast live on state TV, Abadi said Iraq still needed foreign assistance for air cover, training and armament, but not for ground operations.
Abadi renewed his call for Turkey to withdraw troops deployed in the region of Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq which has been under IS control since 2014.
"This is a frank invitation to Turkey our neighbor to pull out its forces from Iraq," he said. "We will deploy every effort permitted by our rights and international law to make them leave," he added.
Turkey deployed around 150 troops last month at the Bashiqa base, where it is training an Iraqi militia to fight IS, citing heightened security risks.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Turkish troops repelled an IS attack on the base, killing 18 militants, adding that this incident vindicated the presence of the protection force. The Iraqi army later denied that any clash happened recently between Turkish forces and the militants.