Montag, 29.03.2021 / 13:35 Uhr

Schlimmer als ein Dschungel: Korruption an Iraks Grenzen

Thomas von der Osten-Sacken
Iranisch-irakischer Grenzübergang, Bildquelle: Wikimedia Commons


Der Irak steht auf der Liste der korruptesten Länder der Welt ziemlich weit oben, selbst wenn er sie inzwischen nicht mehr anführt.

Warum das so ist und wo es ganz besonders schlimm ist, beschreibt dieser AFP-Artikel und wie auch sonst im Irak, hat immer da, wo es besonders schlimm ist der Iran seine Finger ganz doll im Spiel.

Along Iraq's borders, a corrupt customs-evasion cartel is diverting billions of dollars away from state coffers to line the pockets of armed groups, political parties, and crooked officials.

The prime beneficiaries are Iran-linked Shiite paramilitaries that intimidate federal officials who dare obstruct them, sometimes through chillingly specific death threats, a six-month AFP investigation has found.

The network is so well-oiled and entrenched that revenues are parcelled out among rival groups with remarkably little friction, part of a parallel system that Iraq's finance minister has described as "state plunder".

"It's indescribable," said one Iraqi customs worker. "Worse than a jungle. In a jungle, at least animals eat and get full. These guys are never satisfied."

Like most of the government officials, port workers and importers interviewed for this story, this worker cited threats to his life and asked to speak anonymously. 

The network they described arises from Iraq's glacially slow bureaucracy, fractious politics, limited non-oil industry and endemic corruption that is itself largely a product of years of chaos in the wake of the 2003 US invasion to topple dictator Saddam Hussein. 

Customs provide one of the few sources of state revenues, and to keep disparate groups and tribes happy, many of them close to Iran, entry points are divvied up among them and federal duties largely supplanted by bribes.