06 June 2020
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These are trying times for Iran’s ayatollahs. They continue to confront the worst nationwide protests since they took power four decades ago. The Trump administration’s sanctions are crippling the Iranian economy, and are a major reason why the protests have yet to be fully contained. And ongoing unrest in Lebanon and Iraq, especially in the latter, is undermining Tehran’s efforts to establish its hegemony throughout the Middle East.  Iran’s involvement in Iraq differs in kind from its activities elsewhere in the region,…
Arabs rank corruption as the number one problem in the region, finds YouGov poll Corruption contributes to the weakening of economies in the MENA region, say experts DUBAI: Corruption is considered by a large majority of Arabs to be one of the major problems facing their home country, according to an Arab News-Arab Strategy Forum public opinion research study. The survey, conducted in 18 countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, found that out of 3,079 respondents,…
The resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi did little to weaken the resolve of protesters in Iraq, who are now demanding that parties responsible for the violence against them be held accountable.Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands wounded as authorities and unknown powers cracked down on the anti-government rallies that have been raging unabated since October.The departure of Abdul Mahdi, whom Tehran had fought to keep at the helm, is a potential blow to Iran after protests…
On December 1, the Iraqi Parliament approved the announced resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. The courage of the protesters was on display even as the Iraqi security forces killed more than 400 protesters through a brutal countrywide crackdown. Protesters are demanding wholesale change in the daily lives of Iraqis struggling to achieve economic and political progress. The United States has stayed mostly on the sidelines during the protests, perhaps reflecting a lack of American leverage in Iraq. Last…

Tehran and the Restive Iraqis Thursday, 05 December 2019 23:21

With many Iraqis (including Shiites) blaming Tehran for the social restiveness engulfing their country, Iranian policymakers fear the weakening of Tehran’s grip on its neighbor. While the popular unrest that has swept across Iraq over the past few weeks is primarily a result of the Baghdad government’s failure to address the country’s socioeconomic woes, many Iraqis (including Shiites) blame it on Tehran’s interference in Iraqi domestic affairs. They are particularly incensed by the brutal suppression of the protests by the…
Iran’s Islamist dictatorship has been challenged and rebuked in recent weeks by massive political protests—not only at home, but also in the spheres of influence that the regime carved out in Iraq and in Lebanon. In all three countries, the popular protests reportedly erupted spontaneously and initially focused on economic issues, particularly high prices, lack of jobs, and corruption.  But gradually, the protests evolved into full-blown anti-government movements, as unaccountable and corrupt regimes blocked any progress toward reforms that would…
Since early October, Iraq has been witnessing a continuous and growing wave of protests against the administrative, financial and political corruption that is plaguing the country. These protests are directed toward the entire political elite with no exceptions. In addition to protesters expressing their resentment about corruption, the younger generation is focusing its anger on the Iranian regime’s deep-rooted interference in every level of Iraq’s internal affairs. These protests are likely to be a source of several expensive lessons for…
Iraqis fed up with corruption and the slow pace of recovery from the wreckage left by the war with Islamic State have been in the streets protesting since early October. As in Lebanon, demonstrators have channeled their anger into demands for the abolition of the country’s sectarian political system, which was fathered by the U.S. after it overthrew the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003. They also want to roll back the control wielded by Iraq’s neighbor Iran. Unable to agree…
Alexis de Tocqueville would not have been surprised by the recent demonstrations in Iraq, which have resulted in hundreds of deaths and now the resignation of Prime Minster Adel Abdul Mahdi. De Tocqueville wrote in “The Old Regime and the Revolution” (1856): “Nations that have endured patiently and almost unconsciously the most overwhelming oppression, often burst into rebellion against the yoke the moment it begins to grow lighter. . . . Evils which are patiently endured when they seem inevitable, become intolerable when once…

Iraq's trailblazing protesters Friday, 22 November 2019 22:43

In recent weeks, the so-called ancient hatreds of Iraq – between people of different faiths – have largely gone missing in a 14-story abandoned building in downtown Baghdad. It is there in central Tahrir Square that tens of thousands of young Iraqis have not only organized nationwide protests against the government, but also created a model “ministate” for a new Iraq – and perhaps much of the Middle East. According to journalist Pesha Magid, protest organizers in the building are…

As Iraq Burns, World Leaders Stay Silent Thursday, 21 November 2019 21:49

The wave of unrest that has swept through Iraq has gone from protest to violence, creating tension in the region. The demonstrations, which were initially motivated by discontent over the country’s economic stagnation and rampant government corruption, quickly devolved into chaos. Since their start in October, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets, burning down several political party buildings. The security forces and the militias backing the government, some linked to Iran, responded with sniper fire, tear gas and firing live ammunition at the…

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