16 December 2019
English Arabic
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…
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The skeleton of a high-rise building overlooking Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square known as the Turkish Restaurant has become a temporary home and a bustling center for protesters staging demonstrations against Iraq’s ruling elites. On the ground floor, a group of young men calling themselves the logistical support committee organized stacks of donated clothes, food, and other supplies such as battery packs, blankets and cigarettes on Saturday to keep the once-empty building’s new occupants well-stocked. “We didn’t know…
They came dressed in black and wielding sticks. Images emerged on social media of men widely believed to be supporters of powerful Lebanese militant group Hezbollah tearing through a camp of anti-government protesters in Beirut on Oct. 29, smashing chairs and setting fire to tents.  Meanwhile, the anti-corruption protesters regularly can be heard chanting slogans against Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the Iran-backed militia and political party’s leader. The tensions between Hezbollah and the largely leaderless anti-corruption protests sweeping Lebanon are a sign of the great…
October has been a month of protests around the world, from Hong Kong to Chile. Nowhere have they been as bloody as in Iraq. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have tried to swarm the Green Zone, the area in central Baghdad where Iraq’s governing class lives, enclosed by massive concrete walls built by U.S. troops. They have been met by Iraqi security forces and Iran-backed militias firing tear gas and live ammunition. At least 240 people have been killed, and the protests…
In early October, deadly protests calling for an end to pervasive corruption, improvement of basic services, and further job opportunities swept through the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and several other Iraqi cities. While this is not the first instance of Iraqi citizens coming into the streets to demand constitutionally guaranteed rights, these protests are much more expansive than those previously held in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, or those that took place in Iraq’s southern cities last year. A majority of the…

Iraqi protesters lose their fear Wednesday, 30 October 2019 23:27

Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Mass protests in Iraq are continuing despite a vicious crackdown that has left 231 people dead, many of them shot by snipers and gunmen from the Hashd-al-Shaabi militia. Hashd-al-Shaabi is financed and run by the Iranian regime's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls the so-called popular mobilization units inside Iraq. The protests, involving school and university students and unemployed workers, have largely involved the Shi'ite Arab communities in Iraq's main cities of Baghdad, Basra, Najaf, Karbala and…
The situations in Lebanon and Iraq are similar in many ways. The regimes in both countries are based on sectarian and partisan quotas and they both suffer from Iran’s hegemony. However, if Lebanon is hostage to Hezbollah and lies in the shadow of one turban, that of Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, Iraq is dying under the weight of dozens of militias that make up the Popular Mobilisation Forces, most of which are loyal to the mullahs’ regime in Iran, with…
Anti-government demonstrations taking place in Iraq pose a new, precarious challenge for both the United States and Iran as the two countries continue to vie for influence in the region. Tensions between Washington and Tehran remain high after Iran was blamed for the large-scale attack on key oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. The protests began on October 1 and have been led by the country’s Shia community, which has grown increasingly disenfranchised by corruption and a lack of public services…

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