Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Iraq Situation Report: October 17 - 21, 2019

Street protests rooted in popular discontent and a harsh government response have embroiled Iraq in a crisis since early October 2019. The protesters – largely though not exclusively from Iraq’s Shi’a communities in Baghdad and southern Iraq – are airing growing frustrations over the Iraqi government’s failure to enact reforms and deliver basic services, a lack of economic opportunities, and the Iranian regime’s deepening control over the Iraqi state.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is assessing the ongoing unrest and its effects on political-security dynamics in Iraq. The Iraq Situation Report (SITREP) series summarizes key events and likely developments to come. This SITREP update covers the period October 17 - 21, 2019. 

Key Takeaway: Iraqi Shi’a cleric Muqtada al Sadr called for renewed protests in a statement released on the Shi’a religious holiday of Arba’een on October 19. Sadr accused the government of being “incapable of reform.” The Iraqi government is meanwhile establishing a new Law Enforcement Force within the Ministry of Interior to suppress further protests.

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