The wave of protests that erupted across Iraq on October 1, according to a number of reports, resulted in dozens of civilian deaths and several hundred injured protesters. As it’s been reported by Al Arabiya TV station, human rights activists claim that at least a hundred people lost their lives in the course of the protests, while some 3 thousand got injured.
The unrest that was sparked by the frustration that local residents share over the massive corruption, high unemployment rates, frequent power outages and water shortages, would soon lead to demands for the resignation of the sitting government, followed by all sorts of other political demands. In spite of the attempts that local authorities make to restore order by imposing a curfew, the intensity of the protests wouldn’t die down. There’s tires burning in the streets, demonstrators assaulting airports and government buildings.
Egypt‘s Sasapost states that Iraq has not seen a mass movement as popular since the days Iraqis tried to repell the US attack on their country. Demonstrations have swept all the large cities of the country, except for those that remain in the hands of ISIS terrorists in the northern and western parts of the country.
Even though Al Jazeera alleges there’s no leader to head the protest movement, a number of Arab observers have already expressed their doubts about the validity of such allegations. In their opinion a “rebellion of the starving” doesn’t resemble an armed assault on the police and security forces, as there’s been reports about law enforcement units suffering losses.
Most protesters are young people under the age of 20. They can hardly be described as religious conservatives and it is difficult to suspect them of being influenced by clerics. Over the past few weeks their demands have underwent a major change and it’s clear that such a transition could only occur if they were under some sort of external influence. What started out as youth’s attempt to express frustration over the existing social policies would be hijacked by an angry mob chanting extreme political demands, like the replacement of the parliamentary republic with a presidential one, stepping down of Adil Abdul-Mahdi al-Muntafiki and his substitution with the former security chief General Abdul Wahab al-Saidi. All this goes in line with protesters chanting anti-Iranian slogans and burning Iranian flags.