Mass Protests Over Poor Social And Economic Situation Sweep Iraq

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Mass Protests Over Poor Social And Economic Situation Sweep Iraq

Protests in Iraq have continued for longer a week, on Monday continuing in the southern province of Diyala and the city of Nasiriyah.

Initially, citizens of Basra, Iraq’s second largest province and home to about 70% of the country’s proven oil reserves have gone to the streets demanding better public services and jobs. Security forces in the country are on high alert and internet has been blocked in the country’s Shiite heartland, as reported by ABC News. According to Al Jazeera, the protests escalated after on July 8th, security forces opened fire, thus killing one person. The citizens of the southern province denounced corruption, demanded water, electricity and jobs as well as poor governance of the region.

The protests also come at a time when Iraq awaits the final results of a partial recount of the vote that happened in May 2018 before a government may be formed. These elections had the lowest turnout in the 15 years since Sadam Hussein’s overthrowing and were wrought with allegations of fraud and irregularities.

On Saturday the protests reached capital Baghdad, protesters set tires on fire and tried to break into the Badr Organization’s office, forcing police to open fire, luckily there were no casualties.

In Najaf, the Shiite holy city, protesters blocked and torched part of the airport, forcing Kuwait, Iran and Jordan’s national air services suspended flights to the second biggest airport in Iraq, as quoted by ABC News.

The protests have led attacks on party offices, including those of the ruling Dawa Party. Dozens of protesters have been injured, and on Saturday, July 14th there were two victims. The total death toll according to Al Jazeera is, as of July 17th, 8 and protesters claim that they are organizing peacefully, however the response of the security forces has been excessive.

The government in Baghdad promises to address the concerns. On Friday, July 13th, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief and is in power until a new government can be formed rushed from a NATO summit in Brussels to Basra to convene in a six-minister committee, headed by the Oil Minister, Jabar Ali al-Luabi. The committee and the Prime minister promised jobs for those that live in the regions near the oil fields and announced financing for urgent projects such as water and electricity. Abadi also asked the state-run Basra Oil Company to provide more jobs to the locals. His promise for investment of $3 billion was met with disbelief.

The protest was also backed by one of Iraq’s top Shiite Clerics Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, according to DW. Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai, who spoke on behalf of the Grand Ayatollah said:

“The dear governorate of Basra is the number one in providing the country with financial revenue. And it is the number one in the number of martyrs and those who have been wounded in the fight against the Islamic State group terrorists. So, it is not fair, indeed it is not acceptable, that this governorate is one of Iraq’s poorest.”

Basra city and southern Iraq in general are predominantly dominated by Shiite Arabs.

The protesters, however, were not dissuaded by the promises, claiming that every year they are given the same promises to no avail. Abadi’s status as a caretaker until government can be formed and the ongoing talks for the formation of a government with a broad coalition between the Dawa Party and the coalition of Communists and a bloc led by the Shiite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Thus there is no guarantee that Abadi’s promises will be implemented, and even if attempts are made there can be no guarantee that corruption will not intervene in the plans of providing of public services, jobs and better governance of the region.

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  • Pave Way IV

    The US/Israeli plans for a permanently destabilized Iraq – at least until it’s inevitable partition – are coming along nicely. Barzanistan won’t need to declare independence to steal most of Iraq’s oil and gas – there will not be a unified Iraq from which to declare independence. The US will eventually have its lapdog vassal state(s) next to Iran to threaten it.

    Permanent destabilization of Iraq was easy. Allowing corruption to flourish in the new government was the key. Nice work, U.S. State Department and CIA, you evil fucks.

    • Mountains

      I don’t think there is any plans here. Iraq is just piss poor at this point. due to war and few elites taking all money which leaves to many mouths hungry to feed and with rapidly growing populations and the euphrates drying.. It’s comes from the Elites greed and natural causes

      • DaBoiiiii

        The euphorates is not drying from natural causes…

      • DaBoiiiii

        Also, what do you mean theres no plan if you agree there is war? Did war pop out from nowhere? Did it just spontaneously develop? Come out of thin air

      • Bob

        In 2003 Iraq was invaded by US and all the Iraqi state institutions were destroyed, then after a decade of chaos as Iraq started rebuilding and asserting itself with a far closer relationship to neighboring Iran, the US intervened again and politically forced out the Iraqi pro-Shia political leadership – at same time as the mercenary and Gulf funded Sunni-Salafist factions in Syria morphed into ISIS who turned and attacked Iraq to plunder weapons and sow sectarian violence across Iraq. But this all interference goes much farther back, since 1982 the Israeli’s regional strategic Oded Yinon Plan has sought to stimulate the disruptive conditions to generate the partition of Iraq into three separate and sectarian small state-lets. You got the elites greed right – just entirely the wrong ones – it’s foriegn elites going after Iraq.

    • DaBoiiiii

      Nah, if you have paid attention, the plan in Iraq failed to create a launching pad. US has tried three times, once in the form of Saddam, once in terms of its direct occupation and once in the form of ISIS and Kurdistan to control Iraq and have a launching pad from Iraq against iran. All 3 plans have failed. Iraq still has rampant corruption and there are many people that have been duped by propaganda, but as time has gone on Iraq has become better. Iraq post ISIS is better than Iraq pre-ISIS. There will be future suffering and hardship, but as time goes on things appearto begetting better. A lot more awake people, despite the suffering.

  • Smaug

    The smoke has not yet cleared from their civil war with ISIS and they’re already back to business as usual I see. It is kind of ironic how in the Arab world all these opposition parties protest corruption as well as a number of controversial policies. Everyone knows in their hearts that as soon as they hold power they’ll do all the same things their rivals before them did, and for the same reasons.

    • Brother Ma

      Which is why USA should not have invaded Iraq and wrecked a secular wealthy reasonably well- run country.

      • zman

        Which is exactly why Iraq was targeted in the first place. Kaddafi should have seen his fate coming…the template was right there before him to see. Appeasement didn’t work for him any better than it did for Hussein or Assad. Strong, secure and stable ME countries are a no-no…Israel doesn’t feel safe.

        • Smaug

          Yeah, how dare we topple a Ba’athist totalitarian government.

          That’s sarcasm, as usual a circle jerk spits out all the anti-US jargon. It’s obvious that you two don’t care about reality, you just want other people to hate America like you.

      • Smaug

        Are you telling me that Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist government was good? Or are you spitting out the first anti-US thing you can think of?

        • Brother Ma

          Yes it was good. Tell me why it was bad.

          • Smaug

            Tell me where you live and what your name is, and I’ll let you know what I think of that nonscence in person.

          • Brother Ma

            I thought so. No answer. Another smug “My Country is best” Yanqui. Polishing your US flag lapel -pin are you?

          • Smaug

            Interesting word choice. You’re more than likely American yourself.