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Politics and Corruption

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Jordanian protesters hold bread loaves with a slogan in Arabic reading, “corruption = hunger” during an anti-austerity rally, on June 6, 2018, in front of the Labor Union offices in Amman. Photo AFP

Lord Acton, an English historian, once said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In the MENA region, undemocratic regimes have built a system in which corruption is a fundamental element. In order to retain power, one needs money. Hence, the regimes have created their own informal economy that does not apply checks and balances. In other countries, lucrative oilfields are under complete regime control as a means to keep the country under control. Power goes hand in hand with corruption. The implication is that youth with morals and values are discouraged from getting into politics.

One of the fundamental demands of the demonstrators during the Arab Spring, and more recently in Sudan, was an end to corruption. But most attempts have failed, indicating a deep-rooted and persistent problem. Even in Tunisia, it is difficult to combat corruption.

Fanack aims to shed light on corruption in all the MENA countries. Is Tunisia’s War on Corruption a Successful Gamble? In Egypt, the President Has Promised to Tackle Corruption, but Can He? In Iran, Corruption Undermining Iranian Regime, But Little Appetite for Change. In Iraq, Corruption and Sectarianism Blamed for Ongoing Instability. In Israel, As Charges Mount, Israeli PM Refuses to Step Down. In Jordan, Fake Cigarettes, the Smoking Gun on Corruption in Jordan. In Morocco, Fighting Corruption: A Losing Battle? In Saudi Arabia, Saudi Wikileaks Documents: Buying Influence and Sweeping Corruption. In Lebanon, Endemic Corruption Undermining Economy, Accountability.

Fanack will bring you more cases and insights as they emerge.

Further Reading

Al-Sisi is facing a ticking time bomb. The pressure to improve the lives of millions of unemployed youth, many of whom took part in the 2011 revolution, is his biggest incentive to limit corruption. Doing so must translate into mo...
The endemic corruption and high-profile embezzlement cases have created popular resentment. The political elite is aware of the growing anger, which has already led to widespread protests, but radical reform is unlikely.
Corruption and sectarianism are jeopardizing Iraq’s security. Security and military officers have failed to bring stability to the country since the American invasion in 2003.
A committee representing the protesters laid out a list of demands at a press conference in Basra on 16 July, according to the Kurdish news site Rudaw. These included: developing a plan for solving water and electricity shortages ...
Formally, Netanyahu does not have to resign. However according to the Basic Law of Government, the prime minister will be forced to step down only if he is convicted of a crime that carries moral turpitude.
Netanyahu popularity remains unchanged in 2018 even after he has been questioned in some four cases, mainly of corruption but possibly also bribery. Thus, the future of Netanyahu and his coalition remain a major question, although...
Despite a feeling that corruption is worsening at both the national and municipal levels, the public appears to be largely indifferent. There is little pressure to change the situation; indeed, public officials suspected or convic...
However, there is no clear rule that obliges Netanyahu to leave office during the investigation. He likely won’t. Most pundits predict he will at least hold onto power until the next general elections, which must be held before ...
According to Transparency International, Jordan was ranked 59th of 180 in terms of perception of corruption in 2017 with a score of 48 out of 100, with 0 being highly corrupted and 100 very clean. Jordan’s penal code criminalize...
Reforms to the public sector and judiciary are needed to address the corruption at the heart of Lebanon’s economic crisis. However, all efforts could be in vain if the political elite continues to pocket the country’s wealth a...

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