Michael Knights is the Jill and Jay Bernstein Fellow at The Washington Institute and cofounder of the Militia Spotlight platform, which offers in-depth analysis of developments related to Iran-backed militias.
Iraq's Federal Commission on Integrity had been taken over by a Sudani-appointed Badr judge, who is now well-positioned to block investigations of corruption undertaken by Coordination Framework factions.
Name: Federal Commission of Integrity (Nazaha), previously known as the Commission on Public Integrity (CPI).
Type of movement:
“An independent body, subject to the oversight of the House of Representatives, with a legal personality and financial and administrative independence” tasked with “preventing and combating corruption, and adopting transparency in the management of governance at all levels”. Leadership now controlled by political blocs aligned with the Coordination Framework andmuqawama (resistance) militias.
Executes the national strategic anti-corruption campaign alongside fellow independent commissions, the Board of Supreme Audit and the Inspector Generals' Office.
Investigation of corruption cases.
Follow-up corruption cases that the Authority's investigators do not investigate.
Developing a culture of transparency and accountability in public service and more broadly.
Preparing draft laws that contribute to preventing or combating corruption.
Encouraging officials to disclose their financial assets.
History and objectives:
Established on January 31, 2004 by the Iraqi Governing Council, as authorized by the Coalition Provisional Authority Order 55, and then incorporated by Article 102 of the the 2005 Constitution of Iraq.
On November 13, 2022, the leadership of the commission was given to Badr Organization politician, Judge Haydar Hanoun Zayer after the former commission head of Judge Alaa Jawad Al-Saadi was invited to resign. In August 23, 2016, Judge Haydar had been removed from his roles on the Supreme Judicial Council and provincial appeals courts due to charges of "failure and corruption." He later joined the 2018 parliamentary political campaign of the Fateh Alliance (Figure 1), led by Badr leader Hadi al-Ameri and including Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH). Judge Haydar's appointment to the Federal Commission on Integrity was greeted with criticism because there is no official statement dismissing the charges against him by the Disciplinary Committee in charge of prosecuting judges at the Supreme Judicial Council. The only public defense of Judge Haydar was provided bySupreme Judicial Council chief justice Faiq Zaidan, who did not confirm that the charges had been resolved.
On November 18, 2022, Judge Haidar Hanoun, Nazaha’s president,announced the Nazaha's oversight of a Higher Commission for Combating Corruption, which is under the Prime Minister and Nazaha president, manned by the directors of the cases to be targeted by the government body as well as the departments charged with recovering the country’s stolen funds. The head of the Higher Commission is the National Security Service director Abu Ali al-Basri (real name Abda-Karim Abed Fadel), who has decades-spanning personal connections to Coordination Framework politicians and factions, including Badr.
On August 6, 2023, Nazahaissued warrants for the arrest of four senior officials in the previous government, including former Minister for Finance, Ali Allawi. Judge Haidar Hanoun said that Iraq would seek Interpol Red Notices and extradition of the suspects.
Chain of command:
As an independent commission, Nazaha's president can be removed and replaced by the Prime Minister, for cause. Iraq's Prime Minister is Mohammed Shia al-Sudani—who was nominated to his post by the Coordination Framework (CF), the main muqawama political bloc and who the militias refer to as their "general manager" of the "militia government".
Nazaha is led by Judge Hayder Hanoun Zayer, a Badr Organization politician whose political patron and protector is Badr leader Hadi al-Ameri since 2018.
Judge Faiq Zaydan has significant influence and leverage over Judge Hayder and thus Nazaha, due to his role in repairing Haydar's bady damaged career after 2016.
Broader Fatah Alliance factions, including Asaib Ahl al-Haq.
The Higher Commission for Combating Corruption reports to both the Prime Minister and the Nazaha president. The head of the Higher Commission is the National Security Service director Abu Ali al-Basri (real name Abda-Karim Abed Fadel). In effect, the Higher Commission gives Nazaha an arrest and interrogation capability.