The “Science Service” bill is causing controversy in Iraq
Iraq’s parliament postponed the first reading of the draft law to reintroduce conscription, which had been suspended for 20 years, at its session yesterday, and the possibility of its reinstatement is a matter of controversy in Iraq.
The text of the law was first introduced in 2021 during the tenure of the previous government. But Iraq has since had a new government led by Muhammad Shia al-Sudani and a new parliamentary majority led by the Coordination Framework, an alliance of Shia political parties loyal to Iran.
It remains to be seen whether the draft law on the “Science Service” will be supported by a majority of MPs. At yesterday’s session, the House of Representatives postponed the first reading of the bill until next Tuesday, the date of its next session, the House Media Department said in a statement.
Compulsory military service in Iraq began in 1935 during the royal era and ended in 2003, after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime following the American invasion. Since then, Iraq went through a sectarian war (2006-2008) and ISIS occupied part of its territory (2014-2017).
While Iraq declared victory over the armed elements some five years ago, ISIS elements still maintain cells in outlying areas and from time to time launch attacks against the army and the Popular Mobilization (an alliance of armed factions affiliated with the official authorities) .
MP Sakfan Sindi, a member of the parliamentary defense committee, said in an interview with the Iraqi news agency that “the legislation of the (compulsory service) law is necessary because there are risks related to terrorism in the country”.
The law, if passed, will oblige any young Iraqi between the ages of 18 and 35 to enlist for a maximum period of 18 months and a minimum of three months, depending on the level of education of the person concerned, as explained by MP for the Security and Defense Committee, Yasser Iskandar and Tut.
“The application of the draft law on military service (compulsory recruitment) will come after its legislation and two years after its publication in the Iraqi Gazette,” he said, adding that those who enter the service will receive a monthly salary of between 600 and 700 thousand dinars (about $480). ).
On the other hand, some people are exempt under certain conditions, in particular the only son or the sole breadwinner of the family.
And as soon as the law was introduced, there was a lot of criticism, even from MPs.
Yezidi MP Saeb Khidr said in an interview with “AFP” that “the militarization of society will not create love for the homeland”.
In a country where four out of ten youth are unemployed, former Electricity Minister Louay Al-Khatib tweeted that instead of approving the conscription law, it would make more sense to “provide vocational training centers (for youth) and make them compulsory so that they.” Acquiring skills that will help them develop their competencies and engage them in Iraq’s reconstruction projects.” ».
On the other hand, Alliance for Progress representative Fahd Mishaan Turki believes that “service to the flag … will allow us to eliminate unemployment and will give the young man a sense of loyalty to the homeland” .
Compulsory military service in Iraq began in 1935 during the royal era and ended in 2003, after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime following the American invasion.
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