Iraq unrest: Government creating 'crisis cells' to quell unrest

Iraqi demonstrators gather as flames start consuming Iran"s consulate in the southern Iraqi Shiite holy city of Najaf on November 27, 2019Image copyright
Getty Images

Iraq is setting up military “crisis cells” to quell civil unrest which has left more than 300 people dead.

Eight people were killed on Thursday in the southern city of Nasiriya as security forces opened fire to disperse a demonstration.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been taking to the streets to demand more jobs, an end to corruption, and better public services.

The protests escalated after security personnel responded with deadly force.

The Iraqi military said it had deployed commanders to “impose security and restore order.”

“On the orders of the commander in chief of the armed forces, Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, some military commanders have been appointed to this unit to direct and control all security and military forces and assist the governors in their mission,” it said in a statement.

This move by the Iraqi government comes a day after a group of protesters set fire to Iran’s consulate in the city of Najaf on Wednesday.

Demonstrators accuse Iran of interfering in Iraq’s internal affairs and propping up the government.

Protesters chanted “Iran out of Iraq” as flames engulfed the building.

Reports say staff at the consulate managed to flee just before protesters broke in. Iran swiftly condemned the attack and said that the Iraqi government was responsible for protecting its consulate.

Why are people protesting?

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi took office just over a year ago, promising reforms that have not materialised.

Young Iraqis angered by his failure to tackle high unemployment, endemic corruption and poor public services took to the streets of Baghdad for the first time.

After the first wave of protests, which lasted six days and saw 149 civilians killed, Mr Abdul Mahdi promised to reshuffle his cabinet, cut the salaries of high-ranking officials, and announced schemes to reduce youth unemployment.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe story behind an abandoned high-rise taken over by protesters in Baghdad

But the protesters said their demands had not been met and returned to the streets in late October.

President Barham Saleh has said Mr Abdul Mahdi will resign if parties can agree on a replacement.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more