Emily Burchfield (Atlantic Council) writes:
As most headlines continue to focus on US President Donald Trump’s
recent meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and fallout from
the NATO summit, Iraq is witnessing some of the largest and most
in years. The protests began last week, triggered by water and
electricity shortages, unemployment, and government corruption. Despite
the growing unrest in a country where the United States has significant
interests and forces deployed, there has been little mention of current
events in Iraq by American officials or the mainstream media.
The United States’ narrow focus on Iraq’s military and security
challenges, particularly pertaining to ISIS, is indicative of current US
policy. Military counterterrorism operations devoid of a broader
strategy for Iraq discount evidence that economic and social challenges
in Iraq are intrinsically linked to the genesis of instability, as
demonstrated in a recent report from the Atlantic Council’s Iraq
Initiative, Beyond Security: Stabilization, Governance, and Socioeconomic Challenges in Iraq.
The protests over Baghdad’s failure to provide basic services began on
July 8 in oil-rich Basra province, mobilized by power cuts, water
shortages, and sanitation issues set against the sweltering heat of
Iraqi summers. They quickly spread to other provinces in the country’s
Shia-majority south as protesters attacked government buildings and
stormed Najaf international airport, where at least three civilians were
injured in confrontations with police.
On July 14, at least nine security forces and twenty-one protesters were reportedly injured
in clashes at government offices in Maysan province, and thirty-six
police and six protesters were reportedly injured in Dhi Qar. The next
day, Iraqi police used tear gas and water cannons against demonstrators in Basra, and used batons and rubber hoses to disperse
protesters outside Zubair oilfield in southern Iraq. The day after
that, the protests spread to Baghdad. By July 18, Iraqi health officials
reported that eight civilians were killed since the protests began, and sixty others were injured.
Use the link to keep reading and ask yourself why so many others are silent?