FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
Fred Gardner
Exploiting Styron’s Ghost
Dean Baker
Fact-Checking the Fact-Checker on Medicare-for-All
Weekend Edition
August 10, 2018
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Militarizing Space: Starship Troopers, Same As It Ever Was
Andrew Levine
No Attack on Iran, Yet
Melvin Goodman
The CIA’s Double Standard Revisited
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Grifter’s Lament
Aidan O'Brien
In Italy, There are 12,000 American Soldiers and 500,000 African Refugees: Connect the Dots 
Robert Fantina
Pity the Democrats and Republicans
Ishmael Reed
Am I More Nordic Than Members of the Alt Right?
Kristine Mattis
Dying of Consumption While Guzzling Snake Oil: a Realist’s Perspective on the Environmental Crisis
James Munson
The Upside of Defeat
Brian Cloughley
Pentagon Spending Funds the Politicians
Pavel Kozhevnikov
Cold War in the Sauna: Notes From a Russian American
Marilyn Garson
If the Gaza Blockade is Bad, Does That Make Hamas Good?
Sean Posey
Declinism Rising: An Interview with Morris Berman  
Jack Dresser
America’s Secret War on Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Use and Misuse of Charity: the Luck of the Draw in a Predatory System
Louis Proyect
In the Spirit of the Departed Munsees
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Alex Jones and Infowars
Mundher Al Adhami
On the Iraqi Protests, Now in Their Second Month 
Jeff Mackler
Nicaragua: Dynamics of an Interrupted Revolution
Robert Hunziker
Peter Wadhams, Professor Emeritus, Ocean Physics
David Macaray
Missouri Stands Tall on the Labor Front
Thomas Knapp
I Didn’t Join Facebook to “Feel Safe”
John Carroll Md
Are Haitian Doctors Burned Out?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail