News : Middle East

Iraqi Protesters Return to Streets

After the expire of the parliament's deadline for specifying a new Prime Minister, Iraqi protesters flooded into streets and squares to achieve their rightful demands despite Iran-backed militias' threats.

Since the beginning of October, the Iraqi people started a new round of demonstrations against the corrupt political system that takes its orders from the mullahs’ regime in Iran. Despite a cruel suppression, the brave Iraqi youths did not stop their struggle for an appropriate ruling system.

Following the continuation of popular protests mostly in southern provinces, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi was compelled to resign. Now there is a competition between the Iraqi people who are fed-up from the status quo and Iran-linked parties and militias that pursue to serve the mullahs’ interests rather than Iraq’s.

In this context, around a week ago, the organizer committee of demonstrations specified a deadline for the parliament to specify and appoint a new Prime Minister. The deadline is set for January 20. In this regard, the organizer committee called on people to resume the protests against the corrupt government. In tandem with the committee’s call, many youths flooded into streets. They blocked main roads and highways in Babel, Qadisiya, Dhi Qar, Meysan, Wasit, Muthanna, and Basra provinces.

“Monday [January 20] is the end of the week that the protesters in Nasiriya had specified as a deadline for the implementation of the people’s demands. These demands haven’t been implemented by the corrupt government. Over the past 17 years, this government always left the demands of the noble Iraqi people unanswered. The people have suffered from tyranny and disasters like assassination, abduction, terrorism, and humiliation of the Iranian regime’s allies.

“It is worth emphasizing that Iraqi protesters won’t back down from their struggle for achieving the rightful demands of the people and will continue the struggle in the squares of honor and dignity. The people demand the overthrow of the sectarian governing system with all its departments, the heads of three branches of power, the dissolution of the parliament and government, and the formation of a National Salvation government… The people also demand to hold fair elections under the supervision of the United Nations. They called for ending the rule of Iran’s mercenary parties who led Iraq into corruption and plundered for the benefit of their masters in Qom and Tehran,” the organizer committee announced in its statement on January 17.

Additionally, Iraqi protesters reported that security forces and Iran-backed militias fired tear gas and sonic grenades to disperse demonstrators. Security forces killed two protesters and injured at least 25 others. One of the protesters lost his life after being shot in the chest. Several youths were also wounded in clashes with security forces. Some of the protesters fell in the suffocate state due to breathing tear gas,” an activist said.

Unofficial statistics indicate that since beginning Iraqi protests from October 1, more than 400 protesters have been killed and around 20,000 others injured so far. There are some reports about the assassination of organizers and advocates of protests by Iran-backed terror squads, in addition to targeting the outraged people during demonstrations by snipers and live ammunition. The latest assassination related to a 23-year-old female nurse Hoda Khodheir in Karbala. Omar al-Farhan, the director of the Center of War Crimes Registration in Iraq, announced Iran’s agents murdered Mrs. Khodheir some moments after exiting from the square of the strike in Karbala. “This terror committed by militias of Asaeb Ahl-Haq and Kataib Hezbollah [two prominent Iran’s militias],” Mr. al-Farhan added.

On January 18, in a statement, the organizer committee also exposed that militias related to Moqtada al-Sadr have threatened protesters with assassination, abduction, and torching their tents at al-Tahrir Square in Baghdad. Moqtada al-Sadr’s militias announced that protesters should leave the square until January 24.

The organizer committee firmly reacted to threats and announced brave protesters won’t succumb before the tyranny, corruption, and criminality. Protesters reaffirmed that they will continue their struggle to achieve their rightful purposes and take back their country from corrupt rulers.

Notably, today [January 19] protesters set fire on the portraits of the commander of the now-dead Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force (IRGC-QF) Qassem Soleimani and the head of Iran-backed militias (PMF) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Both Soleimani and al-Muhandis were on the charge of committing excessive human rights violations against Iraqi protesters. They were killed during a precision drone airstrike on January 3 near the Baghdad international airport. The truth is the Iranian regime received an irreparable blow both in its malign behavior in the Middle East and oppressive apparatus inside the country after the elimination of the head of IRGC-QF. The event was interpreted by protesters in Iran and Iraq as a good sign.