Iraq Erupts in Violent Protests

Iraq Erupts in Violent Protests

The Middle East has never been a particularly stable region, and it’s especially not in 2019. Iran’s empty threats have put everyone on edge, Afghanistan’s issues with the Taliban never cease and Syria is subjected to constant conflict. Now, Iraq is becoming just as unstable as its neighbors (if not more).

A Country on Edge

Iraq’s economy and quality of life for the general public have suffered greatly in recent decades. In addition to a lack of public services and government corruption, unemployment rates have skyrocketed. In response to these conditions, violent protesters across the nation have taken to the streets demanding change and improved living conditions.

One of the protesters explains the crisis at hand:

There is corruption and for 14 years there has been no electricity and no services and no water. We do not want the political parties, we want nothing from them. Just give us a country, we just want a country to live in.

-Mushtaq Radhi Salih

The Cost of Violence

However well-intentioned the demonstrators may be, this latest wave of protests is resulting in bloodshed and mass injuries. Iraqi security forces utilized rubber bullets, water cannons, tear gas, fire and live ammunition to quell the riots. Earlier this week, up to 200 protesters were treated for injuries and at least 13 have died during the activism.

Although Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi ordered police to cease using live ammunition, some of them ignored these orders. This is the largest uprising Iraq has seen within the last year when Abdul Mahdi took office.

Below are some snapshots of the typical forms of violence seen across Iraq.

Demonstrators have typically protested during the summers in recent years when temperatures regularly exceed 115 degrees in some areas of Iraq. Though the protesters are acting in cooler temperatures, they’re putting the heat on their corrupt government. Poor and working-class neighborhoods in Baghdad have seen the most violent demonstrations thus far.

With so little for the average populace to go back home to, it’s unlikely demonstrations will cease until the government caves in to some demands. Until that happens, there’s sure to be more bloodshed in the streets of Iraq.

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