In Iraq, the protests continue. Manuel Langendorf (ARAB WEEKLY) notes:
“While media attention has moved on since July, protests have continued at a higher than normal rate in the first few weeks of August,” said Benedict Robin-D’Cruz, a researcher on Iraqi politics who has monitored the situation in southern Iraq. The protests include a sit-in that lasted several days and another targeting oil operations at West Qurna 1 near Basra.
All this comes as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi leads a caretaker government more than three months after parliamentary elections, which marked the first time Iraqis went to the polls since the government declared victory over Islamic State militants. A manual recount was ordered after allegations of voter fraud but the results barely changed. Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon bloc remained in the lead with 54 out 329 seats, followed by the Fatah alliance led by Popular Mobilisation Forces leader Hadi al-Amiri and Abadi’s Nasr bloc.
“Iraq has structural problems on every level,” said Muhanad Seloom, an Iraq expert at the University of Exeter. The protests tie into larger trends facing many countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Chief among them is the fact that youth unemployment in the MENA region, at around 25%, is the highest in the world. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) called job creation the greatest challenge for the region’s efforts “to build a future based on inclusive growth.”
Iraq’s current crisis has many causes, harking back to the policies of Ba’athist governments and the US-led invasion in 2003 that installed an ethno-sectarian order in place today. Previous summers have witnessed large protests against corruption and a lack of services.
Several factors have made the protests in the south particularly explosive. Iraq’s predominantly Shia south produces most of the country’s oil output but has been plagued by a lack of public services and mass unemployment. A water shortage crisis, Robin-D’Cruz wrote for the London School of Economics’ Middle East Centre blog, led to intensified tribal fighting when criminality has been on the rise in southern provinces.
A number of e-mails are asking why we ignore 1001 IRAQI THOUGHTS? I thought we'd covered that here already but maybe I noted this in a community newsletter. I repeatedly am unimpressed. They appear to be a US government front similar to Voice of America. If theyaren't, don't really care. They're impossibly wrong and yet always trying to predict. They were dead wrong about the results of the May 12th election and maybe they shouldn't try to predict in the future.
Maybe they should learn to keep their crystal visions to themselves?
Because, in their case, they're skills of forecasting are hideous.
So I'm really not interested in 1001 IRAQI THOUGHTS' 'brilliance' upon what everyone has misunderstood about the Iraqi protests.
No observer has misunderstood them. But it is a cute spin that 1001 Iraqi Thoughts is providing -- cute and suspect.
No, thank you.
By contrast, Balsam Mustafa offers actual insight.
Protestors' chants against #Iran were interpreted by many as purely anti-Iranian sentiments. Rather, they are and should be against foreign interference- by any other country- allowed to take place by post-2003 weak and corrupt political leaderships.
Dirk Adriaensens has a strong article at GLOBAL RESEARCH about the protests. We'll note this section -- he's been addressing the efforts by foreign governments to control Iraq (the governments of the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia):
The Iraqi people remain at the mercy of the interests of geopolitical forces, the hunger for profit of the oil companies and corrupt politicians in an occupied country. Iraqis continue to bear the full burden of 28 years of sanctions, wars, misery, death, destruction, chaos and extreme neoliberalism. However, the population remains alert, stands up again and again against the inhumane situation in which it was forced and wants a fairer redistribution of the available resources. The demonstrators also repeatedly resisted the division of the country, against the sectarianism imposed from above and against foreign interference. The peace movement and all progressives have the duty to support the legitimate aspirations of the Iraqi people in resistance, even though the situation in Iraq is presented as “complicated” in the media. The claim for reparations remains necessary and any support for the corrupt Iraqi regime by Western governments must be rejected.
Foreign governments attempt to control the formation of the Iraqi government. And the Iraqi officials drag their fett about forming a government.
The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated: