FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

On the Iraqi Protests, Now in Their Second Month 

Friends keep asking for comments on the continuous popular protests in the Iraqi southern provinces.

It feels unsafe for activists in the Iraqi Anti-Occupation movement to give a worthy account of events on the ground.  Less so to analyze their significance and potential beyond recognizing that a huge psychological shift is underway amongst the youth.  That is a shift within communities that have been subdued and well-controlled over the years since the occupation in 2003. The control was exercised by Iran-linked fractious sectarian parties working within localized uneasy joint US-Iran stewardship.

Trickle-down corruption of the war-lords’ variety since 2003 controlling nearly about 800 Billion dollars of oil income since then had created a  social base for the new colonial set-up through phantom government jobs, pensions, and compensations. This fragile social base of a few million households is wider in the south of the country and in the Kurdish region.  That is because Baghdad and the central provinces were the hotbeds for resistance after the invasion in 2003 up to 2010, so suffered the US counter-insurgency regime followed by the civil war manufactured through black ops, followed by prolonged peaceful protests followed by ISIS terrorism, promoted or genuine, then by the total demolition of cities.

The neo-colonial sectarian-based joint custodianship regime presided not only over dismantling the Iraqi state but also over ensuring the destruction and prevention of productive capacity in the country apart from the pumping of crude oil. This applied to lack of electricity despite the $40 billion officially spent, and lack of water treatment, the two demands that started the protests.  But also to all industry, agriculture, transport, education and health services.

Back to understanding the protests, and why most anti-occupation activists are reluctant to comment.   Here are some of the reasons:

*  The legacy of worry about the sources of information from the experience of the Syrian and other risings of 2011.

*  No leadership has emerged, perhaps wisely considering the danger of liquidation of activists.  No one is prepared to endanger activists they know or can contact from abroad anyway.

* Protests in Baghdad have been largely silenced through the ultra-opportunistic Sadrist movement. The Basrah main protest is also being stifled, with sites of protests gradually shifting to smaller towns, perhaps wherever the militia rule is weakest, but also where fewer contacts are available.

* The near certainty that some of the protests are used in the in-between manoeuvrings of the ruling parties, militias, the feuding tribes, and the corrupt clerics allied to various parties.

* The claims that Iranian-linked groups had traditionally to use the protests to threaten Iraqi oil production as part of the current battle with the US.

* The claims that the anti-Iranian bent is Saudi or US- supported, even though it may be a genuine popular development with a  potential for the revival of Iraqi nationalism and Arab nationalism. At the same time, sane people remain of the view that the real enemy is the US rather than Iran, even though Iran is messing up the country for its own reasons.

Anti-occupation activists are not able to navigate these murky waters, so remain only able to offer views from geopolitical angles or from known patriotic commentators.

Mundher al- Adhami is an Iraqi academic. 

More articles by:

Mundher Al Adhami is a Researcher on cognitive and professional development at Kings College London, with a number of school textbooks, articles and manuals on advanced pedagogy for teachers of mathematics; writer on Iraqi issues in English and Arabic; member of the follow-up committee of the Arab-Islamic Conference; member of the Iraqi National Foundation Congress.

August 05, 2020
Roy Eidelson
Black Lives Matter: Resisting the Propaganda of Status Quo Defenders
Melvin Goodman
The Department of Homeland Security: the Ideal Authoritarian Tool
Paul Street
Misleaders at a Funeral: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Eulogizing Racial Justice in the Name of John Lewis
Seiji Yamada
Hiroshima, Technique, and Bioweapons
Vijay Prashad
How Trump Managed to Lead the World with the Worst Response to the COVID Pandemic
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Alternative
Jonas Ecke
The Worst Hunger Season Yet to Come: Global Moral Failure in the Time of Covid-19
Rafiq Kathwari
The Battle for Kashmir
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Arch-Kleptocrat is Found Guilty
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Cold War China Policy Will Isolate the U.S, Not China
Lee Camp
Why Housing Is a Human Right
Sam Pizzigati
For Egalitarians, a Sudden Sense of Possibility
Jonathan Cook
Can Israelis Broaden Their Protests Beyond Netanyahu?
Thomas Knapp
Ten Years After Lieberman’s “Internet Kill Switch,” the War on Freedom Rages On
Binoy Kampmark
Staying on Message: Australia, the US and the AUSMIN Talks
Elliot Sperber
The View From Saturn 
August 04, 2020
John Pilger
Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now
Dave Lindorff
Unsung Heroes of Los Alamos: Rethinking Manhattan Project Spies and the Cold War
Kenneth Good
Escalating State Repression and Covid-19: Their Impact on the Poor in Kenya
Dean Baker
We Need an Economic Survival Package Not Another Stimulus
David Rosen
Globalization and the End of the American Dream
John Feffer
The Pandemic Reveals a Europe More United Than the United States
Patrick Cockburn
The Government’s Failed Track-and-Trace System is a Disaster for England
Ramzy Baroud
‘Optimism of the Will’: Palestinian Freedom is Possible Now
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Yale Faculty on Hydroxychloroquine and Its Use in COVID-19
Manuel García, Jr.
Ocean Heat: From the Tropics to the Poles
Sonali Kolhatkar
Why the Idea of Jobless Benefits Scares the Conservative Mind
Greta Anderson
Framing Wolves in New Mexico?
Binoy Kampmark
Pulling Out of Germany: Trump Adjusts the Military Furniture
Shawn Fremstad – Nicole Rodgers
COVID Stimulus Checks Shouldn’t Penalize One-Parent Households
Adam Shah
The 1 Percent’s Attack on Unemployment Benefits is a Sign of Our Broken Democracy
Evaggelos Vallianatos
On the Beauty of Life
B. R. Gowani
Mohammed Rafi: Singer and Human Par Excellence
David Krieger
Eight A-Bomb Haiku
August 03, 2020
Linda Pentz Gunter
The Resistible Rise of Nuclear Gangsters…and Their Downfall
John G. Russell
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
Cal Winslow
Their Heroes and Ours: California’s Health Care Crisis
David Barber
Renouncing White Privilege: A Left Critique of Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility”
Linda G. Ford
Free Joy Powell! America’s Political Prisoner for Fighting Police Brutality
Prabir Purkayastha
Trump’s Withdrawal From WHO: a Cover-Up for His Abject Failure on COVID-19
Dean Baker
The Plunge in Consumption of Services Leads to a Record 32.9 Percent Drop in GDP
Ramzy Baroud
Human Rights Defenders: Palestinian Eyewitness Testimony of the Execution of Abdul Fattah al-Sharif by Israeli Soldier, Elor Azaria
Karen J. Greenberg
Accountability is Gone in America
Cesar Chelala
A Wrong Message for the Pandemic
Jonah Raskin
Chesa Boudin: Reformer in the San Francisco DA’s Office
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail