The protests initiated peacefully when around 1,000 people marched into Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square condemning vast government corruption and demanding the provision of basic public services, such as water and electricity. However, the police prevented protesters from entering the heavily-fortified Green Zone using stun grenades, firing rubber bullets and tear gas.
The destructive role of the Iran in Iraq
The violent response by the Iraqi government raised the protesters’ anger against the core of the country’s horrible situation. After 16 years, they believe that Iran’s influence is the main reason behind the Iraqi crises.
Therefore, angry demonstrators targeted Iran’s symbols in Iraq and are making their wrath evident by setting fire to offices and sites of Iran-backed parties and groups in different provinces.
Popular protests aimed at ending Iran’s meddling in Iraq
One of the buildings stormed and burned by Iraqi protesters belongs to the party of former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a known Iraqi politician with ties to Tehran, in Dhi Qar Province, southern Iraq. He described the demonstrations across Iraq and the incidents in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square as “unfortunate” and “not in anyone’s interests.” His remarks were considered by Iraqi demonstrators as an insult.
Signs show that the current Iraqi protests are condemning the Iranian government’s meddling in this country and the involvement of the affiliated militias in the crackdown against the Iraqi people proved this reality. On October 5, Mr. Ahmed Al-Jabouri, a member of the Iraqi Parliament, disclosed the role of Ghasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force, in the suppression of protesters. Mr. Al-Jabouri said, “IRGC Quds Force chief Ghasem Soleimani is responsible for the murder of Iraqi demonstrators.”
Iraqi MP Ahmed Al-Jabouri reveals how Soleimani kills protesters
This Iraqi MP explained based on information available to him, Soleimani, with the support of one of his operatives by the name of ‘Haj Hamed,’ has launched a war room in Baghdad aiming to assassinate activists and leaders of this movement. He has dispatched a group of snipers, led by Haj Hamed, to command and control various operations aimed at murdering demonstrators and peaceful protesters.
Mr. Al-Jabouri also expressed his support of the protests and added, “Despite the bloody crackdown against the demonstration and using snipers against the protesters, the Iraqi people are determined to expand their demonstration as much as possible, making this movement stronger and more widespread.”
Suppressors are the true enemy: Iraqi MP Faeq al-Sheikh Ali
In this regard, another Iraqi MP, Mr. Faeq al-Sheikh Ali, condemned the Iranian regime’s involvement in the suppression of Iraqi protests. “The Iranian regime is murdering us… this is no longer a secret. The Friday prayer Imam of Tehran specifically said, ‘The protesting Iraqi demonstrators are American operatives. Murder them!’”, he said. “Those murdering the Iraqis are snipers mercenaries and the true enemies of the Iraqi nationals who are targeting the demonstrators.”
Insulting remarks by Khamenei’s representative and the Iraqi youth’s response
Hossein Shariatmadari, a representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and head of Iran’s hardline Kayhan newspaper insulted Iraqi protesters, accusing them of being instigated “by America and foreign elements.” Shariatmadari called on Iraqis to “occupy the US embassy, as the Iranians did in 1979.” (Al Arabiya English Sunday, 6 October 2019)
However, the brave Iraqi youth responded to Khamenei’s representative by storming and setting fire to the Islamic Republic consulate in Basra, and trampling its flag!