22 October 2021
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Western-style democracy has failed Iraq, bringing a dystopian economy, an ineffectual government and more pain for its long-suffering people Iraq in 2021 is still a state afflicted by poverty, injustice, the trauma of great loss of life, and daily fear. Iraqis still suffer from a sense of powerlessness, defeat and humiliation. Since the start of the year, 330 civilians have been killed, including 27 children. Iraq Body Count has now documented more than 208,800 violent civilian deaths since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003,…
A deadly fire tore through a hospital in Iraq's southern city of Nasiriyah earlier this week, claiming at least 60 fatalities with hundreds more suffering from burns and the effects of smoke inhalation. This was the second major fire at an Iraqi hospital in the past three months and has led to an outpouring of grief and fury as Iraqi officials continue to fail to address an increasingly frail health system. Meanwhile, Iraqi woes also take on an international dimension in the continuing conflict…
When Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi heads to Washington to meet US President Joe Biden at the end of July, he will be representing a country that is undergoing a transition from US to NATO-led forces, preparing for an upcoming election, playing a supporting role in US-Iran nuclear talks, and suffering from a struggling economy and infrastructure, exemplified by mass demonstrations over frequent power outages.  All the while, the US is in the middle of a large troop withdrawal in the Middle East and Central Asia as it pivots its foreign policy away…
Iraq’s post-2003 political order can be characterized by factionalism, dysfunction, and amenability to the interests of outside forces such as the Iranians who seek to realize their own interests at the expense of a viable, independent Iraqi state. On the security front, the Islamic Republic has infiltrated key Iraqi security institutions where Iran-backed Shia militias can use the coercive power of the state to assassinate critics and violently put down protests from the Iraqi street. Meanwhile, Iraqi politicians are notoriously…
Protest movements have a habit of coalescing around emblematic figures. These personalities matter, and often become the symbols of the change that they want to inspire. In Tunisia's 2011 uprising, it was the self-immolation and eventual death of Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor, that struck a chord with young people across the Middle East, so frustrated by corruption and lack of opportunity. On the other side of the region, Iraq's protest movement, which started in 2019, was galvanised by a…
FLOATING on a sea of oil, Iraq should by now have rebuilt its war-shattered infrastructure and restored its economy. But construction sites remain idle. Baghdad’s skyline is dotted with the sight of rusting cranes. Roads and bridges are cratered, potholed and broken. Power outages are still the norm, plaguing the Iraqi people with no heating in winter and no air-conditioning in the searing summer temperatures. Those wealthy enough to keep their refrigerators working and their mobile phones charged, must rely on…
It was early morning on Friday 4 October 2019 when calm finally prevailed in the streets near eastern Baghdad’s upscale Al-Nakheel Mall. Hours earlier, hundreds of protesters had filled the streets on the third day of mass anti-government demonstrations in the capital, as well as cities across the south, demanding the end of corruption, more jobs and improved public services. Now dozens of protesters slept under the Mohammed al-Qassim Bridge, bedding down after security forces had prevented them from reaching…
IRBIL, IRAQI KURDISTAN: It is seven years since their yellow flag first appeared in the campaign against Daesh, the extremist group which seized swathes of northern Iraq and eastern Syria in 2014. After Daesh captured large parts of northern Iraq, including Mosul, in 2014, the fighters of Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Forces, won the admiration of many Iraqis for heeding Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani’s call to arms. Since then, the umbrella organization of mainly Shiite militias has, however, adopted…
Since the establishment of the religious regime in Iran in 1979, Iran's relations with Middle Eastern countries have gone through many ups and downs. Tehran developed a two-pronged survival strategy: suppressing dissent inside its borders and exporting terrorism outside its borders. It had a particularly fraught relationship with Iraq, which invaded Iran in 1980. After eight bloody years, Iraq withdrew with as many as one million Iranians dead and almost $627 billion in economic losses. Since the 2003 US-led invasion…

Analysis: Time to rethink Iraq’s PMF Sunday, 06 June 2021 14:07

As long as the Popular Mobilisation Force is flexing its muscles in Baghdad, Iraq is unlikely to be stable The most frequent buzzwords in Iraq these days are “sovereignty”, “prestige” and “respect” for the state. Yet, these are also the most ridiculed concepts. Since he was appointed prime minister last May Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has made reviving the state the cornerstone of his government’s agenda.   For Al-Kadhimi, winning back respect for Iraq’s state apparatus meant reining in dozens of Shia militias…
BAGHDAD — The United States is grappling with a rapidly evolving threat from Iranian proxies in Iraq after militia forces specialized in operating more sophisticated weaponry, including armed drones, have hit some of the most sensitive American targets in attacks that evaded U.S. defenses. At least three times in the past two months, those militias have used small, explosive-laden drones that divebomb and crash into their targets in late-night attacks on Iraqi bases — including those used by the C.I.A.…

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