13.05.2021

Iraq was in the grip of protests

Protesters in southern Iraq on 16 July again took to the streets. The ninth day in a row there are ongoing protests against the poor state of the public service sector and development of corruption in the country. The protesters demanded the improvement of the quality of public services, the supply of electricity and clean water.

The protests began 10 days ago at the initiative of a small group of people in the southern city of Basra. Violence against protesters in Basra, which killed one protester, and the government’s reluctance to meet the demands of the citizens have added fuel to the fire. The protests spread to other parts of Iraq, including Kerbala, Najaf, an Nasiriyah and Amara.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has appointed a special Committee, which included 5 Ministers, and who was, by defining the problems the protesters to satisfy their requirements. He Abadi, July 11, took part in the meeting of the coalition against ISIS held in Brussels.

Returning from Brussels, 13 July, the Prime Minister went directly to Basra to meet with the protesters and listen to their demands. He made promises to create jobs, to establish the quality of electricity supply, clean water and other services in the city by providing funds for these needs to local authorities. In addition, he gave the order to disable the energy of Mosul to provide a greater amount of electricity Basra. However, these measures have not helped to reduce tensions among the protesters.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on 13 July expressed solidarity with the protesters, asking them not to damage public buildings.
In most cities, protesters staged sit-ins outside government buildings and large oil deposits. In Basra organized a sit-in right on the border with Iran.

July 15, protesters tried to storm a government building in Basra, Najaf, Karbala and other southern cities.
Last week Abadi had sent to Basra by the special counter-terrorism forces, whose task is to protect the oil fields and oil companies. They were deployed to other southern cities.

At checkpoints along the main roads between major southern cities such as Karbala and Najaf, a thorough inspection of people and vehicles.

15 July, as Samawah’s security forces were shot and killed 2 demonstrators, several people were injured. In Basra were injured 2 protesters as Iraqi police fired in the air, trying to disperse the demonstrators. In the oil center of Basra was wounded 48 people. As noted by major-General Tamir al-Hussaini, and 28 wounded military personnel and security forces.

Last Friday, authorities gave the order to turn off the Internet to break the contacts between the protesters. The Internet has returned to most areas in the South of the country only on July 16.

The mood in Iraq spreads to Iran. The protesters burned pictures of the Iranian leaders, such as leader of the Islamic revolution Ruhollah Khomeini and current Supreme leader Ali Khamenei. They shouted slogans against the interference of Iran in Iraq and accused Iran of supporting a failed government regimes in Iraq.

Political parties in the government, such as party “Dava”, accused the party “Baas” or the IP that they were behind these protests. Some have accused Saudi Arabia in the organization and financing of the protests. Many protesters believe that these movements support the United States to prepare for the appointment of major General Najm Abdullah al-Juburi, commander of operations in Nineveh, to the post of military Governor in Iraq. Juburi was in the US a few years until 2014, when he returned to take part in the struggle of Iraq against the ISIS, with the support of the United States.

This whole situation is due to the delay in forming a new government. The election results may 12 not approved by the Federal court, the winning coalition could not garner the required majority to form a new government. The last term of the Parliament ended on 31 June, the new Parliament has not yet formed.

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