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Iraqis Demand a Country

Author: Zahra Ali

In: MERIP: Middle East Research and Information Project, Vol 292, No 3, 2019, pp. 1-10

A detailed account and analysis of the 'spontaneous and leaderless protest movement' that was strongest in Shia-dominated provinces, but spread across Iraq.  Ali notes how protests in Baghdad in early October 2019 against the removal of a popular general, who had led the fight-back against ISIS, were also fuelled by anger at failures of basic services, such as water and electricity, and the pervasive political corruption. These demonstrations developed into a demand for a new political system to replace the US- imposed regime based on ethnicity and religious divides. The article then sets the 2019 movement in the context of earlier waves of protest, starting with the 2009 protests in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Sunni-majority protests in 2012-13 against their exclusion from political power.  It also emphasizes the role of a new generation of protesters since 2015. 

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