Galvanized by protests in Tunisia and Egypt, Iraqis too have taken to the streets, demanding that their government focus on the needs of its people. The distrust of and frustration at the new Iraqi government is evident, as services are lacking and prices are high. One does not have to search long to find some odd machinations at work within the Iraqi government. Salaries of many elected officials dwarf even those of congressmen in the United States, and it is estimated that one-fifth of Iraq’s budget goes toward these salaries. Over the past few days and weeks a number of protests have taken place demanding that the government change its policies.
Sensing the outrage and seeking to put a lid on citizens’ anger, the Maliki government has promised to cut salaries by as much as 50%, and has even shelved its plans to acquire a a number of American made F-16 fighter jets that are to eventually be the bulwark of Iraq’s fledgling air force. Instead, the government will use that money to invest in programs that will benefit Iraq’s less fortunate.