Anti-government protests set to intensify in Iraq amid violence, casualties

Another round of nationwide protests in Iraq is expected today following Friday prayers. As violent demonstrations over corruption, economic stagnation

iraq anti government protests

Photo: Alaa al-Marjani/Reuters

Another round of nationwide protests in Iraq is expected today following Friday prayers.

As violent demonstrations over corruption, economic stagnation and poor public services rage on, the government has scrambled to quell public discontent. Following mass protests joined by students last Monday, parliament voted to cancel all privileges and bonuses for the president, prime minister, cabinet, parliamentarians and other senior officials.

However, even lawmakers have pointed out that the move was unlikely to be implemented because the legislature did not actually amend the law governing these benefits. Protesters are looking for broad structural reforms or at least the resignation of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

With the government continuing to fail to adequately meet protester demands, Tehran is starting to signal that it will ramp up its own involvement in backing Baghdad. Future Iranian interference will likely see Tehran slowly increasing its formal and informal influence in the government’s military, by sending of more military advisers to Iraqi security forces and funnelling money and arms to Shia militia groups allied with Tehran.

Increased Iranian involvement in Iraq is only likely to further existing political differences in the country, especially sectarian divisions between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

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