Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Ebb And Flow Of Protests In Iraq

                                                                                    (Al Mirbad)
July marked the return of the annual protests in Iraq demanding services, jobs, pay and better governance. Unlike previous years when Baghdad and Basra were the centers of activity, this time Dhi Qar has seen the most consistent mobilization of people across several different cities in the province. After it seemed like the demonstrations were going to spread at the end of July they suddenly subsided. Then pro-Iran groups kicked into action going after activists. Together that meant by August there have been fewer governorates involved.


July 9 marked the return of sustained demonstrations this year. That began in Dhi Qar and Wasit with the latter becoming the center of protests. By the end of the month they had spread to Babil, Baghdad, Basra, Diwaniya, Karbala, Muthanna, Najaf, and Wasit encompassing nearly the entire south. On July 25 for instance there was activity in Babil, Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Karbala and Najaf. The next day there were protests in 7 provinces, peaking at 8 on July 27, and then 7 again on the 28th. It seemed like things were spreading and would lead to major unrest from Baghdad on down, but that didn’t happen.


By August things had considerably slowed down. From Aug 1-25 only an average of 2 provinces per day saw demonstrations versus 4 the second half of July. That doesn’t represent the total however as some provinces, especially Dhi Qar has usually seen multiple incidents each day spread across different cities, but it does point to the demos not expanding like previous years.


At the same time, pro-Iran groups have picked up their activities as well. In July there was a kidnapping and an assassination attempt in Baghdad and Basra respectively. In August the intimidation campaign became more sustained with one attack per day from August 14-22 in across Babil, Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar, and Diyala. 4 activists were killed during this period. Pro-Iran groups have been carrying out similar activities over the last several years with impunity. That did not lead to an explosion of protests however. Instead they continued at their steady pace.


The demands of the demonstrators are also divided into two distinct groups. One group wants better services and government. There have been electricity and to a lesser extent water shortages in parts of the south this year. People also want their local officials to be removed, new elections and for the killers of protesters to be brought to justice. On the other hand, there are another group of Iraqis who are simply making economic demands. Specifically, they are government workers, and especially contractors, complaining about not being paid due to the country’s economic crisis, while college graduates want jobs from the state. One is obviously aimed at short term gains while the other wants the transformation of Iraqi politics.


It will be interesting to see whether this year’s protests will continue at this level or grow in intensity. The acts of the pro-Iran groups also need to be kept an eye on. For the last several years they have done what they wanted against activists with the government doing nothing. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi has promised that the demonstrators would be protected but that may not be a promise he’s able to keep.



Provinces With Protests (# of Provinces)

Attacks On Activists


Dhi Qar, Wasit (2)



Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Wasit (3)



Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Maysan, Wasit (4)



Babil, Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Muthanna, Wasit (6)



Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya (3)



Dhi Qar, Diwaniya (2)



Basra, Dhi Qar (2)



Dhi Qar  (1)

Baghdad – Activist kidnapping


Basra, Wasit (2)

Basra – Activist shot and wounded


Basra, Dhi Qar (2)



Dhi Qar, Karbala (2)



Dhi Qar, Karbala, Maysan (3)



Babil, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Maysan, Muthanna (5)



Basra, Dhi Qar (2)



Babil, Dhi Qar (2)



Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Muthanna (3)



Babil, Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Karbala, Najaf (6)



Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Muthanna, Najaf, Wasit (7)



Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Karbala, Muthanna, Najaf, Wasit (8)



Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Diyala, Muthanna, Najaf, Wasit (7)



Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Karbala, Muthanna, Wasit (5)



Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Karbala (4)



Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Karbala, Wasit (5)



Basra, Dhi Qar, Wasit (3)



Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Muthanna, Wasit (4)



Dhi Qar, Muthanna (2)



Dhi Qar, Muthanna (2)

Maysan – Activists’ house hit by RPG


Dhi Qar (1)



Dhi Qar (1)



Basra, Dhi Qar, Wasit (3)



Baghdad, Dhi Qar, Wasit (3)



Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Muthanna, Wasit (4)



Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Muthanna, Wasit (4)

Wasit – Sound bomb outside activist’s house


Dhi Qar (1)



Basra, Dhi Qar, Muthanna, Wasit (4)



Basra, Dhi Qar (2)



Dhi Qar (1)

Basra – Activist assassinated



Diyala Activist’s house raided



Dhi Qar – Assassination attempt


Basra, Dhi Qar (2)

Basra – Activist assassinated


Basra (1)

Basra – 3 activists escaped assassination


Dhi Qar, Kirkuk (2)



Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Muthanna, Wasit (5)

Basra – Activist assassinated



Dhi Qar – Bomb placed outside activist’s house


Dhi Qar, Wasit (2)

Babil – Assassination attempt on 3 activists


Basra, Dhi Qar, Wasit (3)

Baghdad – Activist assassinated


Dhi Qar, Diwaniya (2)

Dhi Qar – IED on protest site


Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Muthanna (4)



Basra (1)



Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Kirkuk (3)





Al Aalem, “Pictures..Angry demonstrations in 3 provinces to protest against the deterioration of services,” 7/21/20


AIN, “A demonstration in Dhi Qar to demand the completion of the election law,” 8/14/20

- “Demonstrators set fire to tires to protest against the deterioration of electricity in Basra,” 7/12/20


Asharaq Al-Awsat, “Fierce Clashes in Iraq’s South Despite Scorching Heat,” 7/20/20


Baghdad Post, “Activist Hamzah Kazim, kidnapped, and Tahrir Square protesters threaten to escalate,” 7/16/20

- “A sound bomb exploded at the home of one of the activists in Wasit,” 8/10/20


Bas News, “Eleven Protesters Injured in Nasiriyah Explosion,” 8/22/20

- “Protests Activist Survives Assassination in South of Iraq,” 8/19/20


Buratha News, “Clashes between the demonstrators and the security forces in Al-Tayaran Square, Iraq, and wounded people,” 7/27/20

- “Clashes between riot forces and demonstrators near the Najaf Governorate building,” 7/28/20

- “Demonstrations in Diwaniya against the reality of electricity,” 7/11/20

- “Demonstrators block several roads in Diwaniya and demand the dismissal of the director of electricity,” 7/10/20

- “Diyala .. a demonstration in the center of Baquba to dismiss the director of electricity in the province,” 7/28/20

- “An escalation of Diwaniya protest due to the decline in electricity,” 7/13/20

- “Karbala-Babil road cut to protest against the deterioration of electricity,” 7/29/20

- “Pictures .. Protesters cut a street in Karbala due to a blackout,” 7/30/20

- “Protesters burn tires in front of electricity stores in a region of Dhi Qar,” 7/16/20

- “The residents of Al-Husseiniya district cut off the Karbala-Baghdad road to protest against the deterioration of electricity,” 7/27/20

- “Violent clashes between demonstrators and riot forces on Nationality Street in Najaf,” 7/27/20


Al Forat, “Protesters burn part of the Diwaniya governorate building,” 8/10/20


Haboush, Joseph and Naar, Ismaeel, “Iraqi protesters gather in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square over electricity cuts,” Al Arabiya, 7/26/20


Al Hurra, “Basra..Riot control police attack Al-Hurra reporter while covering the protests,” 8/16/20

- “A campaign to liquidate Basra activists … the assassination of Dr.

- “Video .. Angry Iraqis burn the Governorate building in Al-Diwaniya,” 7/31/20


Al Mada, “Demonstrations in central and southern Iraq to protest against the blackout,” 7/26/20


Al Mirbad, “After Basra, a demonstration in Wasit demands accountability for the killers of the demonstrators,” 8/7/20

- “Again … Management and economics graduates in Muthanna are demonstrating to demand job opportunities,” 8/10/20

- “Announcing the “Save Dhi Qar” campaign to fulfill its demands,” 8/8/20

- “Burning of tires in Mansuriya, Nasiriya city to protest against the deterioration of electricity,” 7/13/20

- “Burning tires in Al Kut city center to protest against the deterioration of electricity services,” 7/10/20

- “Burning tires in an area near Samawa to protest against the deterioration of electricity,” 8/3/20

- “Burning tires in an area near Samawa to protest against the deterioration of electricity,” 8/4/20

- “Burning tires in the middle of Samawa to protest the deterioration of electricity supply,” 7/26/20

- “Central Nasiriya protests over the decline in electricity and health services,” 7/10/20

- “Central Nasiriya protests over the decline in electricity and health services,” 7/11/20

- “Claims to the people of glory in Muthanna to improve services,” 7/21/20

- “Clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the city of Kut,” 7/17/20

- “Close the intersection of Al Mawakeb, Street, in the middle of Diwaniya, with burning tires,” 7/29/20

- “The contractors at Al-Muthanna Electricity Distribution Center are demanding to install and pay their salaries,” 7/12/20

- “The contractors in Wasit sewage directorate are protesting to demand their back salaries,” 8/20/20

- “Cut the Kut-Baghdad road with burning tires to protest against the deterioration of electricity,” 7/28/20

- “Demonstration and burning of tires in Al-Kut to demand the provision of electricity,” 7/27/20

- “Demonstration and cutting off the middle of Kut to demand the provision of electricity,” 7/9/20

- “A demonstration by graduates of health departments in the College of Science in front of Basra Health Department to demand appointments,” 8/19/20

- “A demonstration by the Al-Budair family, south of Diwaniya, to demand improvement in the service situation,” 8/10/20

- “A demonstration by the alumni and lecturers’ association in Dhi Qar to demand appointments,” 8/25/20

- “A demonstration by the contractors at Muthanna Health to demand paying of their back salaries,” 8/23/20

- “A demonstration by Samawa Cement Factory employees to protest the non-payment of their dues,” 8/10/20

- “A demonstration by workers and contractors in Dhi Qar electricity department to demand their salaries be paid and fixed,” 7/15/20

- “A demonstration calling for the dismissal of the Wasit government and the mayor of Essaouria,” 8/8/20

- “Demonstration calling for the trial of the demonstrators’ killers on the highway west of Nasiriya,” 7/30/20

- “A demonstration of the people of Rumaila against a power outage,” 8/2/20

- “A demonstration in Al-Shamiya district in Diwaniya to demand the improvement of electricity,” 7/30/20

- “A demonstration in Baghdad Street in Basra to protest against the decline in electricity,” 7/26/20

- “A demonstration in Basra demanding accountability for the killers of the demonstrators,” 8/7/20

- “Demonstrations in Dhi Qar, Diwaniya and Wasit condemn the attack on the young man in Baghdad,” 8/2/20

- “Demonstration in the area of Al Abs in Muthanna to demand services,” 8/2/20

- “Demonstration inside the headquarters of the Rumaila Oil Field Authority to demand an end to the layoff of workers in the company,” 8/13/20

- “Demonstrations in the Deir district north of Basra against the decline in electricity,” 7/31/20

- “Demonstrators blocking Baghdad Street at the entrance to Karbala due to electricity,” 7/31/20

- “A demonstration in Al-Aziziya to demand services and dismiss the governor of Wasit,’ 7/29/20

- “Demonstrators in Al-Kut are demanding that the new director of education be independent,” 8/10/20

- “Demonstrators in Kut are demanding the dismissal of the governor of Wasit and his two deputies,” 8/21/20

- “Demonstrators in Kut close a number of districts and give the local government a week to resign,” 8/9/20

- “Demonstrations renew the demand for the dismissal of the local government in Wasit, and criticizes the governorate’s representatives,” 8/1/20

- “Demonstrators block the Kut-Baghdad road to demand better electricity supply,” 7/12/20

- “Director of the Basra Human Rights Office to Al-Mirbad: The government must open a serious dialogue with the demonstrators,” 8/21/20

- “Dozens of media graduates in Dhi Qar are heading to Baghdad to demand appointment,” 8/12/20

- “Employees and contractors close the alternative headquarters of the Diwaniya Governorate Office to protest the delay in their salaries,” 8/23/20

- “Escalation by people in some areas in Samawa to protest the deterioration of services,” 8/9/20

- “An escalation of protest in Nasiriya due to electricity,” 8/1/20

- “An escalation of the people in some areas of Samawa to protest against the deterioration of electricity,” 7/29/20

- “An escalation of the protest amid Nasiriya due to the deterioration of the reality of electricity,” 7/28/20

- “An escalation of the protests against poor electricity in Nasiriya,” 7/27/20

- “For the fourth day graduates of the College of Administration and Economics sit in front of Dhi Qar health department,” 8/19/20

- “Free workers in Diwaniya education department storm the Governorate Court building to demand that their contracts be converted,” 7/26/20

- “Health cadres in Diwaniya reject salary deductions and are calling for bonuses,” 8/19/20

- “Holders of higher degrees in Basra demonstrate again in front of the governor’s rest home to demand appointment,” 8/24/20

- “Human rights: The electricity situation in Karbala is poor and citizens continue to demonstrate in front of power plants,” 7/20/20

- “Hundreds in Basra are taking part in demanding demonstrations near the seat of the Al-Kazemi meeting,” 7/15/20

- “Hundreds of youths in Basra are calling for the dismissal of the governor and former police chief,” 8/21/20

- “In pictures: Protesters shut down electricity stores north of Nasiriya, with burning tires, to protest against the deterioration of electricity,” 7/22/20

- “Literacy lecturers in Dhi Qar are calling for their permanent appointments,” 8/12/20

- “A march begins in Diwaniya to demand early elections,” 8/22/20

- “National and Kufa streets were cut in Najaf to protest against the deterioration of electricity,” 7/26/20

- “New evening protest in Diwaniya against the decline in electricity,” 7/14/20

- “New retirees in Basra oil products department are demanding the completion of their pensions and release of their salaries,” 7/22/20

-“A night demonstration in Al-Zubayr protesting the deterioration of electricity,” 7/28/20

- “North of Basra demonstration to demand improvement of electricity,” 7/25/20

- “A pause in Al-Muthanna to demand job opportunities for management and economics graduates,” 8/19/20

- “The people of Essouira will give the central government until tomorrow to provide a substantial share of electricity,” 7/11/20

- “The people of Um Al-Asafeer in Samawa protested the deterioration of electricity,” 7/24/20

- “Political prisoners and Rafha detainees sit in at Muthanna to protest against the cut in their salaries,” 8/12/20

- “Protest escalation south of Nasiriya about the deterioration of services,” 8/19/20

- “A protest stand by the employees of Dhi Qar Electricity Department to demand payment of their salaries,” 8/11/20

- “Protesters close the governor’s house in Wasit district of the neighborhood to protest against the decline in services,” 7/26/20

- “Protesters cut off Abu Al-Khaseeb Road in Awaisyan due to electricity,” 8/1/20

- “Protesters in Al-Akikah gives the governor of Dhi Qar until next Sunday to dismiss all officials,” 8/5/20

- “Protesters in Al-Hamza Al-Sharqi cut Diwaniya-Muthanna road because of the decline of electricity,” 7/28/20

- “Protesters in Kut demand that prevent Wasit deputies from entering the province,” 7/31/20

- “Protesters storm the Diwaniya Electricity Distribution Company branch and demand the dismissal of its manager,” 7/12/20

- “Protests and cut two streets in Basra because of the deteriorating electricity,” 7/13/20

- “Protests continue to be conducted over contracts in Diwaniya Governor’s Office over the delay of their salaries,” 8/25/20

- “Protests in Diwaniya district due to the decline in electricity,” 7/24/20

- “Protests in the commercial street in the center of Basra against the decline in electricity,” 7/27/20

- “The protests of Al-Warka residents continued in Muthanna due to the deterioration of electricity,” 7/27/20

- “Renewed calls for the trial of those accused of killing protesters in Dhi Qar,” 8/23/20

- “Renewed calls in Kut to hold accountable those involved in the killing of demonstrators,” 8/19/20

- “Renewed demonstrations in Shatrah, due to the deterioration of electricity,” 7/27/20

- “Renewed protest escalation against poor services south of Nasiriya,” 8/18/20

- “Renewed protest in Diwaniya over the deterioration of electricity,” 7/25/20

- “Renewed protests in Al-Warka, Muthanna, to demand services,” 7/29/20

- “Renewed protests in Khor al-Zubayr due to electricity,” 7/30/20

- “The residents of Al-Jamia neighborhood in Diwaniya block the road to protest against the deterioration of electricity,” 7/10/20

- “Al-Rifai power station extinguished, in protest escalation,” 8/3/20

- “The salaried employees and contractors in Nasiriya Electricity Directorate cut the road towards Muthanna,” 7/12/20

- “The security forces disperse a demonstration in front of the house of the governor of Basra,” 8/16/20

- “A sit-in by graduates of engineering colleges in front of the Al-Gharraf oil field to demand appointments,” 8/13/20

- “Sit-in in Maysan to demand the dismissal of the local government and all district directors,” 7/20/20

- “They cut the road between Sheikh Saad district and Al Kut to demand the dismissal of the district director,” 8/10/20

- “Thousands participate in a march remembering the martyrs of the demonstrations of Nasiriya,” 7/31/20

- “The wage earners are among the 30,000 job opportunities in Al-Zubayr demanding their salaries be paid,” 7/12/20

- “Wasit government tells the mayor of Esaouria choose between resignation or dismissal,” 8/12/20

- “Workers at Oil Serve oil services in Basra demanding an end to layoffs,” 8/12/20

- “The workers in the municipality of Diwaniya are demanding to convert their contracts and release their salaries,” 8/9/20

- “The youth minister arrives at the Najaf sit-in square to listen to their demands regarding sports,” 7/25/20


Al Nasiriya, “A civilian activist in the city of Nasiriya was subjected to a failed assassination attempt,” 8/15/20

- “Close the entrance to the stores of the Northern Nasiriya Electricity Department to protest against the deteriorating energy situation,” 7/23/20

- “The closing statement of the families of the Nasiriya martyrs demand that the killers of the demonstrators be handed over to the judiciary,” 8/6/20

- “A demonstration in the Al-Shuyuk market protesting members’ performance and poor services,” 8/4/20

- “Demonstrators block the local government building in Jabayesh and demand the removal of the District Commissioner,” 7/20/20

- “Demonstrators block the road between Nasiriya, Souq al-Shuyukh, to protest against the water shortage,” 7/9/20

- “Demonstrators close the government building of Dhi Qar Governorate,” 8/12/20

- “Dozens of demonstrators at the Shuyuk Market block the Tal al-Lahim road to protest the water shortages,” 8/20/20

- “Eyewitnesses: Demonstrators in Al-Shuyukh market block the main road to protest against the deterioration of services,” 7/21/20

Al Nasiriya, “Eyewitnesses: Dozens are demonstrating in Al-Shuyuk market to protest against the deterioration of electricity,” 7/14/20

- “Eyewitnesses: Protesters storm the external gate of the Nasiriya Thermal Power Station,” 7/26/20

- “In pictures: Al-Rifai demonstrators block the road linking the city with Nasiriya to protest against the poor provision of electricity,” 7/28/20

- “In pictures: Al-Rifai protesters cut off the highway for the third day in a row, due to decreased electricity supply,” 8/2/20

- “In pictures: Protesters in Al-Gharraf district protest against malfunctions,” 7/26/20

- “Pictures: Dozens of electricity contract workers demonstrate in front of the southwestern networks demanding that their salaries be paid,” 7/19/20

- “Pictures: Massive demonstration in Al-Fahud district, to protest against poor services and poor electricity supply,” 7/24/20

- “Pictures: Protesters block Ibrahim Al Khalil Street, in the center of Nasiriya, partially with burning tires,” 8/22/20

- “Pictures: Ramzai’s funeral for the martyrs of the Nasiriya demonstrations,” 8/10/20

- “Protesters in Al-Fahud outside the Al-Khidr power station to protest against poor equipment,” 7/9/20

- “The return of demonstrations in Babil … Protesters storm education department and demand the dismissal of the director,” 7/23/20

- “Al-Shuyuk protesters reopen government institutions and carry out cleaning campaign after the mayor’s exemption,” 7/29/20


NINA, “Calm returns to the streets of Basra after the demonstrators withdrew to the sit-in square,” 8/17/20

- “A Civilian Activist Wounded By Gunmen In The Center Of Basra,” 7/17/20

-“A demonstration by Kurdish teachers in Kirkuk to demand the transfer of their staff from the Kurdistan region to the Ministry of Education in Baghdad,” 8/18/20

- “Gunmen Target The House Of A Civilian Activist With An RPG In The Center Of Maysan Governorate,” 8/4/20

- “Protesters Block Roads In Karbala By Burning Tires,” 7/19/20

- “Three activists survived an assassination attempt with silencer weapons in the South Hilla,” 8/20/20


NRT, “Kurdish Teachers In Kirkuk Protest, Demand Federal Government Pay Their Salaries Not KRG,” 8/25/20


Rudaw, “Protesters burn tires in front of the electricity distribution department in #Babil in Hilla, and gives its manager 48 hours to improve the electricity supply,” Twitter, 7/12/20


Shafaaq News, “Renewed protests against the assassinations in Basra,” 8/23/20

- “An “unknown” force raids the home of a civilian activist who participated in demonstrations in Diyala,” 8/15/20


Sotaliraq, “After the dismissals of Basra police chief demonstrators warn of the Nasiriya scenario and demand that the police chief be tried,” 8/19/20

- “Nasiriya … Demonstrators burn the headquarters of an armed Shiite faction close to Iran,” 8/9/20


Al Sumaria, “The killing of a civilian activist in an armed attack in central Basra,” 8/14/20


Wataniq, “The assassination of the civilian activist Mohammed Zamel in Baghdad,” 8/21/20

- “In light of the Al-Haboubi bombing, angry protesters burn the headquarters of Asaib Ahl al-Haq in Dhi Qar,” 8/21/20


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