15 October 2018
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The protests in Iraq over a lack of basic services have dealt a blow to Iran’s influence in the country, experts say. Residents of southern Iraq have taken to the streets since mid-July to vent their anger over the government's failure to provide clean water, reliable power supply and jobs. The unrest spread to cities across the south from Basra and even reached the capital, Baghdad. Ordinary Iraqis see Tehran's support of the country’s political elite as an obstacle to…

Public frustration fires Iraq protests Wednesday, 01 August 2018 19:02

The Baghdad government and the Iraqi political class need to look at the bigger picture. They must stop playing with people’s lives. The kleptocracy that continues to dominate Iraqi politics, where the booty is divided among a “closed sectarian and ethnic elite”, has to give way to a system that benefits all. Government ministers and politicians must act quickly if they want to stop the protests that have engulfed the country and are now openly calling for regime change. These…
Nineveh, once Iraq’s breadbasket, is becoming a dust bowl. Farmers, who came home after Islamic State fled, say they feel abandoned by their country’s leaders, joining a wave of popular anger over the slow pace of rebuilding from the war. TAL ABU AL-DHAHER, Iraq - One day in June, a giant irrigation pump deep in the Mosul Dam Lake sputtered briefly into life. The successful test brought a rare moment of celebration for the facility’s supervisor, Assem Abdel Rahman, and…

Confronting sectarianism in Iraq Friday, 27 July 2018 01:24

It's five years since the Iraqi state violently crushed the Iraqi Spring, and seven months since the same Iraqi state claimed victory over the Islamic state group (IS).  It ought to be of some consternation then, that Iraq in 2018 is one where the issues and protests that comprised the mostly Sunni-led Iraqi Spring are now gripping the Shia south, while IS is making an ominous return in the North.   In post-war Iraq, the Sunni population was the most immediately oppressed group - they comprised a…
Few symbols of the weak Iraqi state have been spared during protests that have swept across the country’s oil-rich south. Demonstrators have attacked government buildings, burnt the offices of political parties, stormed the airport in Najaf and blocked roads into Basra’s Umm Qasr port. Protests have also erupted outside oil and gasfields, threatening the economic lifeline for Opec’s second-biggest producer. It is the most serious popular unrest in Iraq for years and underscores the dangerously widening gap between Iraqis and…
The angry demonstrations in central and southern Iraq are not, as some would like to dismiss them, a seasonal phenomenon caused by the excessive summer heat or demands for electricity and potable water. Rather, they represent a peaceful popular uprising rejecting the government’s policies and the corruption structures that have gripped Iraqi governments for 12 years. It is an uprising against those who have looted the people’s wealth and against the ruling parties that have turned Iraq into one of…
On Monday, July 16, Iraqi protesters in the southern oil city of Basra burned a poster of Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei, shouting “Iran out!” It was the culmination of a week of protests targeting Iraqi government and party offices as well as Iran, as people expressed anger over lack of jobs, electricity, water and infrastructure in southern Iraq. Now Baghdad has suppressed the protests with Iranian-backed militias and the U.S.-trained Iraqi army. U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have warned that these Iranian-backed militias are a threat and…
Protests that began last week in Iraq are continuing amid widespread anger over abysmal public services provision by the government. The unrest threatens to delay formation of a new government, mandated after Iraq’s elections in May, and has already led to break-ins to oil facilities and political offices. First sparked in the oil-rich southern province of Basra and spreading to several cities including the capital Baghdad, Iraqis are voicing their frustrations over widespread unemployment, pollution, dirty drinking water and electricity failures during a…

Iraq in downward spiral Tuesday, 17 July 2018 14:09

Recent events in Iraq have shown the central government is losing control of the country. The riots in Basa and elsewhere over unemployment and lack of government services continue to show that the people of Iraq have lost confidence in their government.  The poor turnout in the last elections and the better than expected results for Muqtada al-Sadr should be forcing the power elites to reassess the government, but it is not.  The movement of military units into the troubled…

Iranian hands behind Iraq’s protests Monday, 16 July 2018 22:04

Over the last few days, Iraq’s southern provinces have witnessed widespread protests, with some turning violent. Protesters voiced legitimate demands, but also attacked vital public facilities, such as Najaf International Airport, leading to the suspension of its operations. Offices of political parties were also attacked in what appeared to be a continuation of the political violence taking place elsewhere in Iraq following the May 12 parliamentary elections. There are two key actors that have an interest in destabilizing Iraq: Daesh…
Oil prices are rising, and they may keep going up at least until the end of the year. This means that Iraq’s budget, which was facing major deficit and which was going to be covered via foreign debts, may be able to overcome the earlier shortfall and come into surplus. This year’s budget was based on the estimate that the price of oil will not exceed more than $46 per barrel, while the price currently stands at about $70. As…

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