The most violent nations in the Middle East are perceived to be the region's most corrupt and are getting worse as political instability allows abuses to flourish, according to a survey released yesterday by an international watchdog group.
Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index ranks more than four-fifths of countries in the Middle East below 50 on a scale where zero is a country perceived to be highly corrupt and 100 perceived to be very clean. Countries in the region scored an average 37, below the global average of 43.
Three countries that have faced persistent upheaval dropped notably over the past year, with Yemen's rating falling five points to 18, Syria dropping nine points to 17, and Libya down six points to 15. Iraq also dropped from 18 to 16.
"Imagine what it takes for a country to root out corruption, it always takes institutions with people in them who have levels of integrity and a system of independent oversight," said Christoph Wilcke, Transparency's director for Middle East and North Africa.
"In conflict situations, all of that goes out of the window right away."
The index measures the perception of corruption in the public sector. Wilcke said that there is a general feeling of corruption across the board in the Middle East, including police, judiciary, and government procurement offices.
"Almost all sectors entrusted with public government functions are seen as corrupt," he said.
The survey of 177 countries is based on local and international experts' opinions of public sector corruption.