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Protests, Blood…What's Happening in Iraq?

Protests, Blood…What's Happening in Iraq?

Friday, 4 October, 2019 - 10:15
A man is seen on the street during a curfew, in Baghdad, Iraq October 4, 2019. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily

At least 31 Iraqis were killed so far in clashes between protesters and security forces in Iraq– these were the first protests that lead to casualties from more than a year.


Why Are Iraqis Protesting?


After two years of defeating ISIS, a great proportion of Iraqis are living in a deteriorating situation despite the fact that Iraq is an oil-country. The security condition enhanced compared to the past years but the destroyed infrastructure hasn’t been fixed yet, also jobs are scarce.


Youths are blaming the corrupt leaders, saying that they don’t represent them.


Why Did the Situation Deteriorate?


Following consecutive wars throughout years with neighboring countries, UN sanctions and the sectarian war, the victory over ISIS in 2017 was a signal that Iraq is entering a stage of peace and becoming free.


Also, oil output increased to record levels. However, the infrastructure is exhausted and the building of cities - devastated by war - didn't commence yet. Further, some groups remain armed in the streets.


Corruption continued since Saddam Hussein’s term and was reinforced under the sectarian parties that emerged after ousting him.


Who Triggered the Protests?


The protests don’t seem to be organized by a political group – at the beginning of this week, calls on social media have mounted for protesting. The turnout was huge and it shocked the security forces.


The two main reasons for the popular anger: the shortage of state services and the lack of job opportunists.


Will Protests' Scope Widen?


It depends on the way the government and security bodies handle the situation. If more protesters are killed then this would increase people’s anger.


Will the Government Meet Protesters’ Demands?


It promised to enhance job opportunities for Iraqis in which Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi pledged to provide job opportunities for graduates – he also issued instructions to Iraq's Minister of Oil and government authorities that 50 percent of the staff should be Iraqis in upcoming contracting with foreign firms.


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