ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Health Minister Alaa al-Alwan publicly announced his resignation on Sunday, citing opponents within the ministry that sought to hinder its development through “blackmail and misinformation.”
Alwan previously resigned in March because of what he called “excessive pressure” in his work, but Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi asked him to remain at the time, so he stayed on.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement that, this time, Alwan submitted “his resignation to the prime minister as of Thursday, September 12, 2019.”
Alwan, educated in Egypt and the UK, practiced medicine in Scotland before returning to Iraq after the fall of the former regime in 2003. He served as both education minister in Iraq’s 2003 Interim Governing Council and health minister in the 2004 Iraqi Interim Government and then took a job with the World Health Organization (WHO). Since then, he has filled several clinical and academic positions in Iraq in the fields of medicine and public health.
He explained in a lengthy letter that, despite “positive change” that had taken place in his ministry, the negative effect caused by some in its administration that “resort to defamation” in the media on the internet was too great for him to remain in the post.
“Sadly, we are still exposed to a wide spectrum of… blackmail and misinformation in order to offend and distort the facts. This has reached a level that hinders the work of the ministry and undermines the chances of success of its programs for reform.”
“I deeply regret reaching the firm conviction that we cannot continue to work under these circumstances,” he continued, stressing that, this time, his resignation was irreversible.
Abdul Mahdi’s government consists of 22 ministers, with the top Education Ministry post having been vacant since late 2018 due to a dispute between political parties.