This is a map of Freedom in the world-
In the center is Iraq with a rating of ‘Not Free’ according to the Freedom House Organization. Surrounding countries show similar ratings, with Israel being the only state considered ‘free’.
Excerpted from Freedom House. org (not my writing!!!!)
Political Rights and Civil Liberties
Iraq is not an electoral democracy. Although it has conducted meaningful elections, the country remains under the influence of a foreign military presence and impairments caused by sectarian and insurgent violence.Under the constitution, the president and two vice presidents are elected by the parliament and appoint the prime minister, who is nominated by the largest parliamentary bloc. Elections are held every four years. The prime minister forms a cabinet and runs the executive functions of the state. The parliament consists of a 275-seat lower house, the Council of Representatives, and a still-unformed upper house, the Federal Council, which would represent provincial interests. The lower house is set to expand to 325 seats in 2010. Political parties representing a wide range of viewpoints operate without restrictions, but the Baath party is officially banned. The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI), whose nine-member board was selected by a UN advisory committee, has sole responsibility for administering elections.
Home to one-fifth of the country’s population, the autonomous Kurdish region constitutes a distinct polity within Iraq, with its own flag, military units, and language. The 111-seat regional legislature remains dominated by the allied PUK and KDP, despite the presence of the new Gorran opposition bloc following 2009 elections. The Kurdish region’s political leaders profess their commitment to remaining part of a federal Iraqi state, but Kurdish security forces maintain a de facto border with the rest of Iraq, and Iraqi Arabs are often treated as foreigners.
Iraq is plagued by pervasive corruption at all levels of government, and most offenders reportedly enjoy impunity. A national Integrity Commission is tasked with fighting corruption, but it conducts its investigations in secret and does not publish its findings until the courts have issued final decisions. In April 2009, an attempt by anticorruption authorities to arrest several Trade Ministry officials resulted in gunfire from ministry guards. A number of the suspects were ultimately arrested and sentenced to prison, and the trade minister, a member of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Da’wa party, was forced to resign in May and face charges himself. Recruits allegedly pay bribes to enter the security forces. Iraq was ranked 176 out of 180 countries surveyed in Transparency International’s 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index.
Freedom of expression is protected by the constitution and generally respected by the authorities. However, it has been seriously impeded by sectarian tensions and fear of violent reprisals. Over a dozen private television stations are in operation, and major Arab satellite stations are easily accessible. More than 150 print publications have been established since 2003 and are allowed to function without significant government interference. Internet access is not currently restricted.
**excerpted from Freedom House organization- Iraq