16 November 2019
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Developments in Iraq and Lebanon, two Arab states where the Iranian regime boasted of controlling their capitals, are becoming very worrying for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Long considering the Middle East as its fiefdom the mullahs’ regime regards a decrease in influence in these areas as a prelude to sparking new protests and even a nationwide uprising back home.  This turn of events gained a broader perspective as protesters in the city of Karbala, a major Shi’ite stronghold considered vital for the Ayatollahs in Iran, stormed the Iranian consulate on Sunday night. The site was torched and the significance of the development gained further global…
At least 320 people have died, and thousands have been wounded since the unrest began on Oct. 1. “We are jobless and poor, but every day we see the flares of the oil fields,” said Huda, an activist in Basra, the province that accounts for the lion’s share of Iraq’s crude exports. She spoke on condition she be identified only by her first name for security reasons. “Where do the millions go?” she asked. It’s a good question. Oil accounts…
The sanctions against Iran are obviously working as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has again called for the United States to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Instead, the U.S. should continue the policy of “The worse, the better” and use the recent protests in Iraq and Lebanon against Iran’s “system” to create additional leverage against the clerical regime. Highlighting how Iran’s meddling in their countries has enriched Iran’s local placemen and the clerics, security officials, and…
BAGHDAD - For his latest exhibition, Iraqi cartoonist Khudair al-Humairi chose 36 cartoons that summarised corruption in and around political power in a manner symbolic in its general outlines. He chose “Chairs” as the title for the exhibition because his cartoons focus on the object and concept of the chair as a symbol of political power. Humairi said he finds inspiration in Iraqi politics and politicians who desperately cling to positions of influence and power symbolised in his cartoons by…
Since October, protests in Iraq and Lebanon have re-energized the Middle East region as hundreds of thousands of young people descend onto public squares, repeating 2011 Arab Spring slogans that call for regime downfall. But while Iraq and Lebanon could offer great promise if protesters learn from past failures in the region, they could also prove to be bloodier if Iran gets its way. Middle East protests that have taken hold in the past decade have had their own unique…

The five enemies of Iraq's uprising Saturday, 09 November 2019 21:12

First, a careful examination of the impasse in Iraq reveals that the Iranian regime, after failing to occupy Iraq despite an 8-year-long war, has made this occupation a pressing matter of national strategic objectives, since Iraq is the necessary gateway for projecting Iranian power beyond Iran’s borders, towards the west and south. When the Americans invaded Iraq in 2003, they, knowingly or stupidly, offered Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's successor the opportunity to achieve, through deception and “taqiyya” (discretion), what his…
BAGHDAD — From Baghdad to the Shiite Muslim shrine city of Karbala and farther south, Iraqis are pushing for a revolution. They fill central squares to sing and dance from daybreak, and face down riot police when night falls. Iraq’s streets are no stranger to power struggles. They’ve been a stage for sectarian conflict and for the Islamic State’s emergence. But the crowds are different this time, and so is the threat now posed by the largest grass-roots movement in…
The exuberant protests of Iraqi youth against a corrupt and ineffective government present the United States with a rare opportunity in Iraq. It is within Washington’s power to make a strong statement in favor of democracy, civil society, accountability and anti-corruption, while simultaneously disrupting Iranian efforts in the region. Unfortunately, the U.S. government appears to be acting timidly and backing a dysfunctional government rather than the reform movement that — though not pro-U.S. — shares American goals and objectives. A…

Iraqis Rise Against a Reviled Occupier: Iran Tuesday, 05 November 2019 21:56

The Islamic Republic’s heavy-handed interventions in regional affairs are provoking growing resentments, particularly in Shiite-led Iraq. BAGHDAD — It started quietly a month or so ago with scattered protests. Those steadily expanded until last week more than 200,000 Iraqis marched in Baghdad, raging against the Iraqi government and a foreign occupier — not the United States this time, but Iran. While the current leaders of the Iraqi government cower inside the Green Zone, where officials running the American occupation once sheltered, the protesters…

Women come to the fore in Iraq protests Tuesday, 05 November 2019 21:28

Iraqi women have turned out in vast numbers during the current anti-government protests, ignoring societal norms and the danger posed by the violent response of security forces. Throngs of women, young and old, were among the crowds packing Baghdad’s Tahrir Square well past midnight on Wednesday, where dozens of people had already died since the protests resumed on October 24. Earlier, women gathered together chanting: “Down, down with the regime.” “It's important for the women to go out so the…
Post-invasion Iraq and Iran are linked by invisible bonds. On Thursday, it was reported that Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mehdi would resign following weeks of protests, and more than 200 demonstrators killed by security forces. Iran, blamed by many of the protesters, was lobbying to preserve its interests. But Iraq needs a more balanced relationship with its neighbours, and one key linkage is energy. As well as the intangible chains of corruption, patronage and influence that bind many in…
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