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Security Scandals Haunt Iraq’s Government

Security Scandals Haunt Iraq’s Government

Saturday, 16 November, 2019 - 11:00
Iraqi demonstrators take part in ongoing anti-government protests in Baghdad, Iraq November 15, 2019. (Reuters)

As hundreds of thousands of Iraqis continue to demand the government to step down, two security scandals surfaced involving the incumbent cabinet headed by Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

The first scandal involved an armed gang kidnapping a senior security official in the Interior Ministry in central Baghdad, while the second was the denial of Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari that the munitions that hit Iraqi demonstrators had entered the country through the government.

Shammari said on Thursday a “third party” is behind shooting at the demonstrators and security forces alike.

He explained the rifles used by the security forces have a range of 75 and 100 meters, and gas bombs are of the conventional type used by all countries in the world to disperse demonstrators.

However, he said it was usual that some protesters have been killed by bullets fired from a distance of 300 meters, saying such weapons have been imported to the country without the knowledge of Iraqi officials.

These arms have never been imported by the government and officials of Iraq, he emphasized, adding that it is vague and unclear how they have been brought in.

Political observers pointed the finger towards Iran and its proxy militias in the country.

Amnesty International had announced earlier that Iran is one of the manufacturers of tear gas bombs being used against protesters.

Street protests erupted in several Iraqi cities in October over unemployment, a lack of basic services and rampant corruption. Protests have often turned violent, with security forces opening fire, leaving hundreds dead.

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