"Building democracy takes time and building a democracy doesn't create a utopia overnight," said Hamzeh Haddad, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani has vowed to fight graft in Iraq, which ranks near the bottom of Transparency International's corruption perceptions index, at 157 out of 180 countries.
"Every Iraqi can tell you that corruption began to thrive ... in the 1990s" when Iraq was under international sanctions, said Haddad, adding that graft is more in focus now "because Iraq is open to the world".
Iraq is battered by other challenges, from its devastated infrastructure and daily power outages to water scarcity and the ravages of climate change.
And yet, said Haddad, today's Iraq is a "democratising state" which needs time to mature because "democracy is messy".
Read the full story and more from AFP, published in Barron's.