Following the strict measures taken recently by the Saudi government against dozens of prominent figures, the issue of corruption has moved to the center of public attention in several other regional countries notably Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
To be sure, corruption has always been a major cause of concern in those nations, in fact, throughout the Middle East. Usually, however, people talk sotto voce of corruption in high places, treating it as “one of those things”, something like drought or a locust attack about which nothing could be done. What the Saudi move has shown in a dramatic way is that given the will, there is always a way to confront corruption.
In Afghanistan where billions of dollars in foreign aid seem to have evaporated, leaving behind a shadow fainter than the smile of the Cheshire Cat, the government has at long last accepted that corruption does exist. A committee led by Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah (Zamariani) is supposed to delve into the matter and tell the world how bad the situation is. This may lead nowhere. However, the fact that the government admits there is corruption, in itself, is welcome.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has also declared “war on corruption” as the second phase in his “war on terror”. Again, all one can do is to wait and see what all that means.