Friday, November 8, 2019

Iraq Situation Report: November 5-7, 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 November 5-7, 2019.

Key Takeaway: Iran and elements of the Government of Iraq (GoI) set conditions for a violent crackdown on protests in Baghdad and Southern Iraq. The GoI reinstated an internet blackout amidst new reports of assassinations of journalists and activists. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mehdi met with security officials to organize a response to ongoing protests. Demonstrations have blocked roads in key cities in Southern Iraq and the Umm Qasr port, leading to an estimated $6 billion in economic losses.

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