Thursday, November 28, 2019

Iraq Protests Escalate Once Again

Iranian Consulate in Najaf was burned by protesters (Al Mirbad)


Iraq’s protests have escalated once again, this time across the south. Roads and oil fields are being blocked and buildings are being set ablaze once more. This is likely in response to the government’s inability to carry out any meaningful reforms.

Demonstrators have started targeting the economy more systematically. In Babil’s Hillah, Basra city and other sections of the province, in Dhi Qar’s Nasiriya and anther district, in Karbala city, and in Najaf city major roads, highways, and bridges have been blocked over the last two days. In Basra, there have also been sit-ins in front of Um Qasr Port, and the West Qurna 1 and Majnoon oil fields, which have constantly been broken up by the security forces only for people to return at a later date. Government offices were also shut down in Basra city and Najaf. For weeks now there have been demonstrations off and on at Um Qasr, which is the country’s most important port. Later that was expanded to Khor al-Zubayr port. That cost Iraq billions of dollars, which led to clearance operations by the security forces. People eventually began going to oil fields, and now transportation. These are the economic life bloods of the country. Since Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi refuses to step down, and the government has not offered any serious reforms, the protest movement has decided to pick new targets to increase the pressure upon the authorities. Unless oil production is affected, this is unlikely to work.

Anger continues to boil amongst the crowds. In Nasiriya the government and a security building were burned, along with the houses of two politicians. In Karbala, protesters tried to storm the government building, and in Najaf the Iranian consulate was set ablaze. When the demonstrations first started in October a series of government and political parties’ offices were set on fire. In Dhi Qar especially, a number of houses have been burned down for the last two months. The Iranian consulate in Karbala was also targeted. These are all signs that the demonstrators are angry not only at the political establishment, but Iran as well, which supports many of the ruling parties.

SOURCES

Al-Aalem, “Sources: Transfer of minor detainees from Muthanna airport to juvenile prisons in Baghdad,” 11/25/19

Baghdad Post, “Demonstrators try to storm Karbala building and security forces prevent them from using tear gas and sound bombs,” 11/24/19

Davison, John, Aboulenein, Ahmed, “Iraq protesters block roads to press reforms, five shot dead,” Reuters, 11/27/19

Al Hadath, “#Iraq – Sources at the event: Protesters rally in front of one of the Badr militia headquarters in Najaf,” Twitter, 11/27/19

Al Hurra, “Bottlenecks and injuries after Iraqi security forces attempted to break up a sit-in by force,” 11/25/19

Iraq Newspaper, “After burning the house of Khalid al-Asadi now burned the house of former deputy of Dhi Qar Hilal Sahlani,” 11/25/19

Kullab, Samya and Faraj, Murtada, “13 dead in 1 of the ‘worst’ days of protest in southern Iraq,” Associated Press, 11/24/19

Al Maslalah, “Pictures .. National Security Building burned by demonstrators in Dhi Qar,” 11/27/19

Al Mirbad, “Blocking roads leading to the 8th station of west Qurna 1,” 11/24/19
- “Reopening the entrance of Majnoon oil field north of Basra,” 11/27/19
- “The road between Afak and Al-Badeer in Diwaniya and Fajr in Dhi Qar was closed,” 11/27/19
- “Sit-ins continue at the eighth oil terminal of West Qurna 1,” 11/27/19
- “The sit-in continues in front of Majnoon oil field north of Basra,” 11/24/19

Al Sumaria, “Video .. Iraqi protests burn the Iranian consulate in Najaf,” 11/27/19

NINA, “Demonstrators Block a Number of Roads and Bridges in Karbala,” 11/27/19
- “Demonstrators Block Faq – Abi Al-Khasib Road South of Basra with Coffins Covered with Iraqi Flags,” 11/27/19
- “Demonstrators block streets and intersections in Basra,” 11/27/19
- “Demonstrators In Dhi Qar Burn The New Building Of The Governorate,” 11/24/19
- “Najaf Municipality Building and Most Streets of the Province were Closed with Burning Tires,” 11/27/19
- “Protesters Close The Entrance Of Majnoon Oil Field North Of Basra,” 11/25/19


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