Protests in Iraq leads to more bloodshed: Approaching 100 dead in Iraq
Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The crisis in Iraq is intensifying with each new death and now just under 100 people have perished since security forces turned against protesters. In the latest clashes in Baghdad, it is known that at least 18 people have been killed. Therefore, with further deaths in other parts of Iraq, it is clear that divisions are increasing between security forces and anti-government protestors.
Reuters reports, “The scale of the protests, in which nearly 100 people have died since Tuesday, has taken the authorities by surprise. Two years after the defeat of Islamic State, security is better than it has been in years, but corruption is rampant, wrecked infrastructure has not been rebuilt and jobs remain scarce.”
The Prime Minister of Iraq, Adel Abdul Mahdi, stipulated, “Amid all of this, I swear to God that my only concern is for the casualties.”
Yet, clearly, he is under pressure because anti-government dissent, especially in mainly Shia areas, is extremely high. Thus, knowing the demands of anti-government protesters, the prime minister uttered a 17-point plan. This plan, he promises, is aimed at addressing the genuine concerns of people who are struggling in Iraq.
Unsurprisingly, his words of reforms have been met by scorn and derision because many politicians have promised to deliver hope, only to deliver little. The revered Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani pointedly said the government had “not answered the demands of the people to fight corruption or achieved anything on the ground.”
The BBC reports, “Corruption, unemployment and poor public services are at the heart of the discontent faced by young Iraqis today. The unrest began spontaneously with no formal leadership in mostly Shia areas in the south, and quickly spread.”
In another article by Modern Tokyo Times, it was stated, “People who don’t want to be ruled by America or Iran hate Iranian tutelage and approach of using proxies in Iraq. This is helping to trigger nationalist sentiments because the once-powerful Iraq is now but a pale shadow of its past. Thus, with the health care system being in tatters, ineffectual wages for poorer people, unemployment, an insufficient educational system that is starved of major economic input, sectarianism and outside meddling, kidnappings, and other similar ills, then protestors believe that they can’t take much more.”
Overall, it appears that the gulf between the disenfranchised and the political elites ruling Iraq is increasing. Hence, if reforms aren’t implemented quickly then tensions will further grow and the blood will keep on flowing.
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