Iraq oil cash: $150 billion stolen from the nation for the reason that US-led invasion of 2003

“Of the nearly $ 1,000 billion made from oil since 2003, an estimated $ 150 billion of stolen money has been smuggled out of Iraq,” Salih said in a televised address.

The statement came when the Iraqi President submitted a draft law to reclaim corrupt funds to the Iraqi parliament.

“The draft law aims to strengthen the powers of the Iraqi nation to recover stolen money in corrupt businesses, to hold corrupt people accountable and to bring them to justice,” said Salih.

He called on Iraqi lawmakers to discuss and approve the proposed laws “to help contain this dangerous scourge that has for many years prevented our people from enjoying the riches of their country”.

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Salih said the stolen money would be enough to improve Iraq’s finances significantly.

According to Salih, the legislation would seek to reclaim the misappropriated funds through cooperation with other governments and in partnership with international bodies.

“Here I repeat the call made by Iraq that we made earlier at the United Nations General Assembly to form an international coalition to fight corruption in the spirit of the international coalition against ISIS,” said Salih.

Salih said the challenge of corruption is no less dangerous than terrorism.

“Terrorism can only be eradicated by using up its sources of funding based on corruption funds as the political economy of violence,” added Salih.

Since 2019, hundreds of people have died in violent protests across Iraq against corruption, unemployment and the lack of basic services, including electricity and clean water, as the country failed to achieve stability after decades of sanctions and war.

The Biden administration is looking for one possible withdrawal US troops from Iraq as the country’s security forces become more efficient and the threat from ISIS subsides, the two countries announced in a joint statement in April.

The US currently has around 2,500 soldiers in Iraq focused on the mission to defeat ISIS as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the global coalition to defeat the remnants of the ISIS caliphate that controlled parts of Iraq and Syria.

The troops have now shifted to training and advisory tasks “to enable the redistribution of all remaining armed forces from Iraq,” says the joint statement by the US and Iraq.

Aqeel Najim from CNN in Baghdad contributed to this report.