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Iraq’s nationwide curfew to be extended until April 18

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Iraq’s nationwide curfew to be extended until April 18

Iraq extends nationwide curfew until April 11 - France 24

Photo: Hussein FALEH AFP

Iraq’s nationwide curfew, originally scheduled to lapse today, has been extended until April 18.

Though Iraq has only 1300 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the country has a mere three hospitals capable of viral testing. Moreover, official orders restricting travel and public assembly have been ignored as thousands continue to attend protests and religious gatherings.

Protests against American and Iranian influence have rocked Iraq for months, leading to over 500 deaths and thousands of injuries, and have continued through this pandemic. As American and Iranian forces stand down to focus on their own health and safety, there are fears that an unchecked and unwatched ISIS will resurge, throwing Iraq back into chaos.

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The extended curfew gives the Iraqi government cover to deploy troops and impose public order on protestors who refuse to quarantine without widespread pushback from the media. The Iraqi military needs the government to succeed in addressing this pandemic as they struggle to navigate the space between Iranian and American forces operating in their country. If the government fails, it will create a security void that will lead to revived insurgency and widespread violence.

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