2018 Iraqi protests

2018 Iraqi protests
Part of 2018–19 Arab protests
احداث العراق.JPG
Scenes from the streets of Iraq during demonstrations across the country in 2016
Date15 July 2018 – 7 September 2018
Caused byUnemployment and poverty
Poor basic services
State corruption
Energy crisis[1]
Sectarianism[citation needed]
Growth of ISIL[2]
Parties to the civil conflict

Sadrist Movement
White Vans Armed Group[3]
Ahmad al-Hassan followers[4]
Basra Tribesmen[5]

Lead figures
Barham Salih (since 2018)
Fuad Masum (until October 2018)
Adil Abdul-Mahdi (since 2018)
Haider al-Abadi (until October 2018)
Nouri al-Maliki
Mohamed al-Halbousi
Erfan al-Hiyali
Medhat al-Mahmoud
Falih Alfayyadh (until August 2018)
Ali al-Sistani
Mohammad Yaqoobi
Abu Deraa
Humam Hamoudi
Hadi al-Amiri
Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani
Qais Khazali
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis
Qasem Soleimani
Muqtada al-Sadr[7]
Ahmad al-Hassan
Makki Yassir al-Kaabi [8]

The 2018 Iraqi protests over deteriorating economic conditions and state corruption started in July 2018 in Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities, mainly in the central and southern provinces.

2018 protests

On 15 July 2018, protests erupted in southern and central Iraq, with protesters burning the headquarters of Kataib Hezbollah in Najaf and sacking the city's airport. Protesters in southern Iraq have blockaded the border with Kuwait and occupied several oilfields. In response to the mass unrest, flights from Iran to Najaf were diverted,[9] and the Iraqi Army redeployed forces in the north that were engaging ISIL and the White Flags group to the south to counter the rise in unrest.[10] During protests in Basra two demonstrators were killed by Iraq's security apparatus, and protesters in Sadr City stormed the headquarters of the Iranian backed Badr Organization.[11] On the next day, protesters in Basra began burning pictures of Khomeini and continued to storm the political offices of the Islamic Dawa Party, Badr Organization, and the National Wisdom Movement, the protesters also demonstrated against Iranian drainage of the Shatt al-Arab waterway, which has caused water in southern Iraq to become saline.[12][13] The government started to crack down on the increasing violence during the protests, and there were eight reported deaths among the protesters.[14] On 21 July, a Badr Organization militiaman killed a 20-year-old protester in the city of Al Diwaniyah.[15][16][17]

On 3 September, Iraqi security forces killed Makki Yassir al-Kaabi, an Iraqi tribesman protesting near the provincial capital in Basra; in response to his death many tribesmen from Banu Ka'b have threatened to take up arms against the Iraqi government.[8] A few days later, at least 7 people were killed and 30 wounded after a protest about the lack of public services in Basra was fired upon by security forces.[18] On 8 September, an unknown group fired 4 Katyusha rockets at Basra Airport, no injuries or casualties were reported. The US consulate was situated at the airport, and it expressed concern for the developments in Iraq. No one had claimed responsibility for the rocket attack.[19]

In October, two bodies of activists were found in Basra and suspected to be victims of assassinations carried out by Iranian-backed militias.[20]

On 17 November, Sheikh Wessam al-Gharrawi, a leading figure during the protests against deteriorating public utilities and water contamination, was killed by unknown attackers outside his house in central Basra.[21]

On 5 December, protesters demonstrating in Basra wore high-visibility vests, inspired by the French yellow vests movement. They demanded more job opportunities and better services. Iraqi security forces responded by firing live ammunition at the protesters, but no injuries were reported.[22]