President's speech on Monday, October 7, 2019

2019/10/08

Our noble Iraqi people,
My sons and daughters the youth of the demonstrations and the arenas,
Our brave soldiers and officers in all the formations of the security forces,
Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.

During the past few days, we have witnessed painful events, and the voice of our people has been heard loud and clear, demanding that everyone live up to the aspirations, needs, demands and grievances of the citizens.

It is painfully deep in the heart to see Iraqi blood of the martyrs and the wounded among the demonstrators and the security forces being wasted.

Targeting peaceful demonstrators and security forces by live bullets, and targeting the media and journalists is unacceptable in the Iraq that we have embraced and pledged to make it a democracy in which the rights and freedoms are respected, and where everyone abides by the Constitution, the authority before the citizen.

The government and the leadership of the security services confirm that there are no orders to shoot people, and that these excesses, excessive violence and the targeting of people with live bullets did not happen following a decision by the state and its bodies and, therefore, the perpetrators of these acts are criminals and outlaws. I confirm, from my position as President of the Republic, that our security apparatus with its various formations defending and protecting the people, their rights, their capabilities and their Constitution must firmly confront those who have violated the Constitution, assaulted citizens and security services and terrorized the media.

This is a sedition and a crime that cannot be tolerated. The blood of our people and our security forces is not subject to biddings or adventures, and our trust in our people is absolute. Any outlaw must submit to the authority, law and jurisdiction of the State.

These young people who have fallen left a wound in the hearts which cannot be healed by reassurances, talk or promises. We must all join hands to heal the wounds of Iraq and move forward in unison, pulling and supporting each other in a way that preserves the pride of our people and the authority and prestige of the state and strengthens the building of its institutions. 

“This blood is Iraqi blood … The one who chants slogans to demand his rights is Iraqi … And the member of the security and army who tries to defend the institutions is Iraqi … We must not reach this stage where we see the blood of our sons on the streets... We need to change and support one another: the citizen, the official and the soldier until we overcome this ordeal.”

There are those who talk about foreign hands in these events. We do not say that there is no one who wants -and has an interest in- sowing discord between people of one homeland. Inevitably, there are interests that want to exploit every gap, every problem and every rivalry within our country, but the foundation here is the undying determination of our people.  This great people has shown the world its genuine nature.

We must all be honest with each other: officials, political parties, employees, activists, intellectuals and citizens that this movement, these protests came against the backdrop of misery, grievances and the general feeling of the country's need for reform. To make our country immune from conspiracies comes from serving our people first, and from the sense of satisfaction of our people and their participation in building the country.

Our people and their security forces who have confronted terrorism with great courage, defeated the remnants of ISIS and achieved feats that humanity will remember for generations, have been suffering for many years from poor services, unemployment and lack of job opportunities.
Yes, the Iraqi economy has really been depleted due to security and terrorist challenges.
Yes, the victory over ISIS was not without a high price which was the loss of precious lives and the capabilities of the State. 

But there is also financial and administrative corruption which have hampered the chances of progress and shackled the great capabilities of our homeland which had the potential to move our people to another (higher) level.

Partisan and factional quotas refuse to leave our reality despite persistent attempts and calls to renounce them and choose real, practical and scientific methods to reach good governance.

When partisan interests and quotas replace the national will, which is able to push the stalled wheel forward, then our homeland bleeds and suffers losses in its possibilities and opportunities which affects the legitimate aspirations of our people.

Certainly, brothers and sisters, without real honesty with (our) conscience and with our people, we will not be at the level of the determination of this great people who has proved and still proves its consciousness and insistence to obtain the genuine status it deserves in civilization.

The needed honesty must be followed by serious steps, not slogans, promises and wishes.
The people demand social justice, freedom, security, job opportunities and basic services. These are not impossible demands; they are at the heart of the responsibility of any State that represents and defends its people.
O youth of Iraq, you are our hope for and means to achieve any real change to reach a prosperous and strong Iraq that guarantees its security and stability and in which everyone enjoys a free and dignified life. There is no legitimacy for any political process or political system that does not fulfill your needs and aspirations in a dignified homeland. This is our duty and we will never deviate from it, God willing.

Keep your protests peaceful and do not allow those who exploit situations to steal this homeland from you. Do not allow anyone to steal your dreams and demands.
We reaffirm our respect and appreciation for the propositions of the Marjaiya, which has diagnosed, through its speeches and advice, the imbalances at an early stage, and warned against the danger of delaying reform and serving the citizens.

While we appreciate all the efforts exerted by the government to address the inherited and complex crises related to the intersecting political wills; and based on the initiatives and practical steps taken by the Presidents of the Council of Ministers and the Council of Representatives to meet the demands of the demonstrators; and based on serious discussions with political leaders, civil society organizations and community activists; and in recognition of the position of Mr. Muqtada al-Sadr, which is aimed at stopping the Iraqi bloodshed and ensuring a drastic solution to people's problems, 

I lay before you the following points and start implementing them in a short period of time:
First: Open a judicial investigation into the causes of the violence that took place in the past few days, and take serious measures and decisions to determine the mechanisms to confront this kind of protests and prevent the rush to the use of excessive force on the basis of rules of engagement and anti-riots and protect the right of citizens to protest peacefully. The competent authorities must hold those responsible for Iraqi bloodshed accountable.
Second: In response to the call of the Marjaiya, we will work to support the formation of a committee of independent experts, personalities known for their competence and integrity, and open the door for a constructive dialogue with the active forces, led by our sons the demonstrators. We will work within the framework of the Presidencies and political forces to ensure that this committee enjoys a national consensus, and provide it with the proper climate to conduct its work without political interventions so that it will be able to diagnose the flaws and develop adequate remedies to start an effective process of reform with the use of Marjaiya support and popular support. We will consider the output of the committee -associated with a specific timeline- to be practical steps and a binding roadmap to go forward in implementing those steps. The Presidency will make all its capabilities available to help this effort succeed.
Third: Open a comprehensive, frank and constructive political dialogue to form a national parliamentary bloc that supports the reform steps, including the outcome of the committee proposed by the supreme authority and legislative and governmental procedures; overcome obstacles and political pressures; and assist the government to move towards effective steps to fight corruption and provide services.
Fourth: Support a substantive cabinet reshuffle to improve government performance and put into effect work mechanisms, to achieve a qualitative leap in performance and services; to complete the project of the State, strengthen its institutions and preserve its prestige, its legitimacy, and its role in serving the people.
Fifth: Reinvigorate the role of the court dealing with integrity cases, provide it with the appropriate conditions for it to work freely, refer all corruption cases to settle them within specific timelines, bid no exceptions in this regard, give no immunities in this vital dossier to any party or figure, in addition to work to recover public funds.
Sixth: Support the promises of the government and Council of Representatives to profitably compensate affected people in relation to the removal of unofficial settlements to help them afford housing costs, halt the removal of other unofficial settlements before making sure that affected people are compensated, provided that encroachments on buildings by parties, companies and state linked powers all over Iraq are removed, as well as the legislations and needed executive measures to create jobs, offer cash grants to the unemployed and rehabilitate them especially the alumni and graduates of degree programs and the other procedures announced by the Council of Ministers in urgent economic and service initiatives. 
Sixth: Support the pledges of the government and the Council of Representatives to compensate those affected by the work of ending the excesses in a meaningful way to help them afford housing, and stop the implementation of the lifting of other excesses before making sure to compensate the affected parties, provided that the excesses of all parties, companies and state bodies throughout Iraq are lifted. This is in addition to the legislative and executive procedures required to create jobs and provide financial aid and rehabilitation to the unemployed, especially graduates and degree holders.  This is in addition to other measures announced by the Council of Ministers within economic initiatives and initiatives on the provision of services.
Seventh: Support the acceleration of the establishment of the Federal Service Council, which comprises in its membership independent people, to take over its work within one month to consider applications for appointment fairly, and to give holders of higher degrees priority in appointments; conduct a comprehensive review of the procedures, regulations and mechanisms of governmental  appointments in order to prevent favoritism and corruption, in addition to the immediate release of the posts adopted in the budget and the launch of the degrees of  staff movement. 
Eighth: Review the electoral law of the Council of Representatives to restore confidence in the electoral process and to encourage the participation of citizens as well as the enactment of a new law, which is consistent with the patriotic aspirations of all segments of the Iraqi people. The Presidency of the Republic will establish a national dialogue team to follow up this file with the help of experts from the United Nations.
Also, the establishment of an independent electoral commission to allow maximum transparency in the electoral process.
Ninth: Initiate a national dialogue to discuss the required remedies for the imbalances inherent in the political system, which hinder the promotion of the principles of good governance, in a manner that leads to the strengthening of national unity.

Dear beloved ones, my sons who are demonstrating for your legitimate rights, I urge you to participate in a constructive and genuine dialogue within a national honest and careful that  guarantees that people are briefed on the steps to reform;  hold direct and daily meetings with our youth in all cities to discuss reform, good governance and achieving the goals that we all seek.
I also call for an end to the escalation and waiting for the results of all parties and responsible parties to meet the demands and aspirations of the people.

Enough rivalry
Enough Iraqi bloodshed
Enough widows and bereaved orphans
Iraq has suffered from violence, abuse, mass graves, the Anfal campaign, wars, siege and terrorism.

We do not want Iraq to be the fuel for the conflicts of others or the arena of settling scores.
Our young people and our people have the right to express their opinion. The Constitution guarantees this, and any confiscation of this right is unacceptable and unconstitutional.
Peaceful demonstration is a constitutionally guaranteed and democratic right and our people deserve this right and it is unfair to deny them the exercise of its right.
The looters and criminals who confronted the demonstrators and the security forces with live bullets are the enemies of this homeland and the enemies of the people, and we must stand to prevent them from achieving their aims.

The duty of the media is the responsibility of impartially reporting the news and staying away from inflaming (situations).

Self-restraint must be exercised, escalation must be avoided, space for dialogue among the people of one country must be preserved, and foreigners must be prevented from interfering in our national dialogue.

Our noble people,
These measures cannot be the ultimate guarantee of the aspirations of the Iraqi people, but they will provide the basis for real reform. It will not be possible to implement these terms without a real control by the people. Freedom and transparency in exchanging information and guarantees of the freedom of the press.

Let us preserve our country and respect the will of our people for it is the people who are the decision-makers in choosing who they entrust with the management of their affairs. The decision is that of the people and democracy is a means to implement the will of the people.

May God grant mercy and forgiveness to our martyrs and a speedy recovery to our wounded
We are all the sons of one nation
We are all for Iraq, for its stability and the protection of its sons
May Allah protect you all.
Peace, mercy and blessings of God.


Presedent

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