iraq today

a chronology of events from the present back to July 2018

17/9/18:

Iraq, Basra: more on the contaminated water crisis A health crisis in the Iraqi city of Basra has claimed an unexpected victim — a top football club from Baghdad is 10 players down and unable to kick off the new season. The Al Hussein team travelled 600 kilometres south to play Naft Al Junoob in the Iraqi Premier League, but players were hospitalised by polluted water. The water crisis in oil-rich Basra province has put 60,000 people in hospital since mid-August, according to the provincial council for human rights….“We brought a lot of mineral water with us from Baghdad but it seems the water used by the players to wash themselves and their clothes was polluted,” he said.”

8/9/18:

Iraq: rockets fired at Basra airport, heads of Basra Operations Command & Basra Police sacked, Umm Qasr seaport blockaded

7/9/18:

Iraq, Basra: almost all government buildings torched during last 24 hours In the last 24 hours, protesters in the southern Iraqi city of Basra have attacked or set fire to nearly every government building — including the headquarters of the ruling Da’wa Party and the offices of the state-run Iraqiya TV station — as well as the Iranian consulate and the headquarters of almost every Iranian-backed militia in the city. And on Friday evening, according to local reports, protesters had gathered outside the US consulate in an attempt to storm the building, and Iraqi security forces had been deployed to keep them away (the consulate was closed at the time).”…Baghdad: protesters fire mortar rounds into the Green Zone, the heavily fortified seat of the Iraqi  government & foreign embassiesIslamic Supreme Council of Iraq office in Basra set on fire by protesters…All major governmental buildings set on fire by protesters in Iraq‘s Basra; protesters have also set fire on offices of Badr, Asai’b Ahl al-Hak, Nujaba’a, Dawa party, state of law office, Hizbollah & other political party offices. Protesters then further escalated their confrontation with the central government by closing down the Umm Qasr seaport just 60 kilometres south of Basra. The port functions as the lifeline for Iraq, through which the majority of the country’s imports pass, including the bulk of its food. The port remained shut”

6/9/18:

Iraq, Basra: demonstrators continue burning government and party offices Despite the Iraqi government’s measures to control the demonstration, including imposing curfews and deploying large military forces to Basra, protesters set fire to the provincial council building and stormed the governorate building, witnesses said.According to al-Ghad Press, at least one protester was killed and 30 others wounded near the governorate building. Another protester was killed in the al-Fadhila party’s office in Basra. Demonstrations continued during the evening with protesters attacking the Basra governor’s guest home, setting the building on fire, sources told local Iraqi media outlets.The sources also said protesters burned the office of the state-run al-Iraqiya TV.The offices of many Shia political parties also came under attack where the guards responded with live bullets, they added.Protesters burned the offices of Hadi al-Amiri’s al-Badr Organization, Qais al-Khazali’s Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Nouri al-Maliki’s Islamic Dawa Party and Ammar al-Hakim’s Hikma.”

5/9/18:

Iraq, Basra: state continues shooting live rounds “…distributed water is now so polluted that it has already forced more than twenty thousand people to hospital. Several citizens’ defense associations want Basra to be declared a “disaster” province. But, with a third of the country recently taken over from the Islamic State (IS), Baghdad says it is struggling to find funds. Yet, the amount of oil revenue is breaking records every month and almost doubled in one year….The province of Basra has become unlivabledemonstrations have resumed daily since the beginning of September, around the seat of the governorate. And the police replicate with live ammunition and tear gas canisters. The protesters respond by throwing Molotov cocktails and fireworks sticks. Video about the contaminated water here

“the thirst for gold will leave us without water” South American graffiti

 

4/9/18:

Iraq, Basra: at least 6 killed as protesters set fire to government building “The situation is continuing to escalate after the death of a protester yesterday…Security forces are using live ammunition and tear gas to break up the demonstrations.” Yasser Makki died in a hospital following clashes with security forces on Monday night…Demonstrations have been ongoing for months in southern Iraq over poor government services, corruption, and a shortage of potable water….the government office caught fire after protesters hurled petrol bombs at security personnel. “There is a big fire in the provincial government building, which has now become completely enveloped in flames”….”Our orders are clear in banning the firing of live ammunition during demonstrations,” al-Abadi [Iraqi Prime Minister] said in his weekly news conference”…Nabil al-Assadi, another demonstrator in Basra, told Al Jazeera that, despite attempts to break up the demonstration, protesters have not retreated. “Security forces have been using tear gas and live ammunition to break us up, but that is making us more adamant to continue,” he said…Twenty-three protesters have been killed since July 8 when the wave of demonstrations erupted across Iraq over electricity outages, unemployment, and official corruption.”curfew imposed after one guard is killed

Basra:

Above – government building torched

 Below – armed proletarians at funeral of person murdered by state forces

2/9/18:

Iraq, Basra: angry protests continue Protests have resumed in the southern Iraqi province of Basra this week following similar unrest in July over the lack of basic services, clean water, power outages, unemployment, and state mismanagement. On Sunday protesters blocked the road leading to the Shalamcheh border point between Iran and Iraq. The main road between Basra city centre leading towards Karmat Ali on its northern outskirts was also blocked with burning tires.More hereProtesters threatened to break into the field if the government did not respond to their demands to improve basic services and address their complaints over Basra’s drinking water, which residents say is undrinkable due to high salt levels. “We will not allow the oilfield to operate unless we get clean water. No services, no jobs and now no clean water. We are fed up,” said Hassan Ali, a protest organiser….Oil exports from Basra account for more than 95 per cent of OPEC producer Iraq’s state revenues. Any potential disruptions to production could severely impact Iraq’s limping economy. Police also dispersed protesters who tried to prevent trucks moving on a main road to the east of Basra which leads to a border crossing with Iran, customs and police officials said.” 

31/8/18:

Iraq, Basra: clashes as protesters against undrinkable water, crap public services and corruption burn tyres and  try to break into provincial government’s HQpetrol bombs thrown and part of HQ’s protective wall destroyed (includes video)

15/8/18:

Iraq, Basra: state kills 1 person as clashes over lack of public services continueClashes broke out leaving hundreds injured when civilians in the southern oil hub of Basra gathered to demand basic public services in the latest in a string of demonstrations. “The protests in Al Hwair district in northern Basra escalated rapidly after security forces used live ammunition to disperse protesters. More than 100 people were injured and one man was shot in the head, while many others were randomly arrested,” Basra resident Ahmed Ali told The National. Security forces called for peaceful protests but demonstrators destroyed vehicles and personal belongings, Mr Ali said. The clashes, explained Mr Ali, were partly triggered by the death of one of the protesters who was allegedly tortured in police custody….In the first two week of the protests more than a dozen demonstrators were killed, more than 600 injured and an additional 600 arrested…Protesters say they have given up hope that the country’s local and central government can change the country’s dire situation….“We want to be treated like human beings and not animals, we need jobs, clean water, electricity and we will not stop until we get them” Fairly detailed Guardian report (from 27/8/18) on the situation there

23/7/18:

Iraq: further protests Protesters on Sunday took to the streets in the cities of Samawah and Nasiriyah, chanting “no to corruption”, a scourge Iraqis say has long blighted their country. Since the start of the demonstrations those involved have focused their anger on the political establishment, with government buildings and party offices being sacked or set ablaze. The Iraqi authorities have scrambled to halt the unrest and have blocked social media sites online to try to prevent the spread of protests.” More here

20/7/18:

Iraq: movement continues to spread as internet connections are cut “A man was killed on Friday in a new day of protests in Iraq, a medical source said, as authorities struggle to contain social unrest which has reached the capital Baghdad. The latest death brings to nine the number of people killed in protests as Iraqis hit out at a litany of social and economic woes….Protests were held across the south on Friday and a number of political party offices and public buildings were torched.”

18/7/18:

Iraq: clashes over unemployment, dirty water & electricity cuts continue  Demonstrations… have spread to other cities including Amrah, Nasiriyah and Samawa. At least eight protesters have been killed in clashes with security guards, with hundreds more injured. The violence broke out due to anger over soaring unemployment, dirty drinking water and a lack of electricity. But protestors are increasingly targeting oil facilities such as the West Qurna 2 and Zubair oil fields.The protests might force up the price of oil on fears of supply disruption…The scale of the protests means some low-level disruption to oil exports is likely at some point in 2018.”. More here. “…protesters have blocked roads leading to local refineries by installing tents on the main streets near the oil fields. On July 13, the special forces of the anti-terrorist unit arrived in Basra to protect the province’s oil companies and oil fields. During the current protests, equipment has also been stolen from the oil fields, although on July 11 the demonstrators managed to arrest eight thieves and handed them over to the authorities as a sign of trust between the demonstrators and the security forces.”. From this distance, it’s hard to know how much such sickening moralism – handing over those expropriating the expropriators to the protectors of the multi-millionaires-cum-multi-mass-thieves legimatised as “the owners” – prevails in this movement. I’d optimistically guess that, considering the killings meted out to protesters by this self-same protection racket, that such grassing up is far less likely 7 days on. Video here.

17/7/18:

Iraq: list of links about what’s happening on the protest/class war front

15/7/18:

Iraq: state closes internet; dozens injured as protesters clash with state Dozens of demonstrators were wounded in southern Iraq Sunday in clashes with police as protests over unemployment and a lack of basic services entered a second week…The protests hit several provinces including Basra, despite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announcing fresh funds and pledges of investment for the oil-rich but neglected region. The internet had been out of service across the country for 48 hours. In the city of Basra, demonstrators tried to storm the governor’s headquarters but were dispersed by police who fired tear gas at them…Police also fired tear gas at stone-throwing demonstrators who tried to push their way into the Zubeir oil field south of the city…Several people, including journalists, were overcome by the gas…In Nasiriyah, provincial capital of neighbouring Dhi Qar province, 15 demonstrators and 25 policemen were injured in clashes, deputy health director Abdel Hussein al-Jabri said. The clashes, including hand-to-hand combat, erupted when the demonstrators gathered outside the governor’s office and pelted security forces with stones. In Muthana province bordering Basra, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the governor’s headquarters and some torched parts of the building, a police source said. Protesters in Muthana also set fire to the offices of the Iranian-backed Badr organisation in the province’s largest city of Samawa. On Saturday, protesters had set alight Badr’s headquarters in Basra, prompting authorities to impose an overnight curfew across the whole province.” More here “In a town near the southern city of Amara, police shot into the air to disperse protesters after demonstrators set fire to the municipality building. Thirteen protesters and seven policemen were wounded in the clashes.” And a possibly over-optimistic report here “…Protesters in Basra have occupied many government’s buildings and offices and are involved in street fighting with the police and security forces. People have also set fire to offices and the headquarters of political parties in the city. Since Friday 13th July protest have spread to many other towns and cities including Nasiryah, Maysan, Qadisiyyah, Karbal, Thi Qar , Babil and Najaf. In Najaf, the most Holy Shia City in Iraq, protesters managed to occupy and take control of the airport. In Basra they are trying to take control of the oil fields and refineries to stop oil being exported. On Saturday afternoon further protests started in four neighbourhoods of Baghdad very close to the Green Zone (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Zone) – a hugely sensitive place in Baghdad. It seems that the central government has now imposed a night curfew in certain areas of Baghdad. Other reports talk about the cutting off of the main road by the government between Baghdad and Kirkuk….” I say “possibly over-optimistic” because another report I saw said that what the author of the above refers to about the airport take-over –  “protesters managed to occupy and take control of the airport” – was that the protesters got through the airport’s perimeter fence and that this protest ended after an hour or so.

13/7/18:

Iraq:  protests mainly about unemployment spread to 4 cities. More here “At least one protester was killed and dozens of others were injured in clashes with police during anti-government demonstrations in the southern Iraqi Governorate of Maysan…Dozens of police officers were injured in clashes with protesters as well…Protest actions began in southern Iraq about a week ago in the port city of Basra. The situation worsened after the death of a demonstrator last Sunday protesting against unemployment and deterioration of the situation in the communal sector. The protesters are demanding that the authorities put an end to electricity and water supply disruptions. Protests are now spreading to other provinces in the south of the country….on Friday, protesters broke into the international airport in the Iraqi city of Najaf and also seized a provincial administration building. Iraq’s state television reported later, however, that the protestors had withdrawn from the airport and air traffic had resumed.”

8/7/18:

Iraq, Basra: at least 1 killed during riots against unemployment, water shortages & electricity cuts as temperatures hit 50°C

Texts on this site:

Kamikaze Kapitalism (2003) On the Iraq war 2003 and aspects of its real and false opposition

Kurdish Uprising On the Kurdish uprising following the 1991 Gulf war

gulf war 1991: the daily horror (1991)

 



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