Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, October 29, 2019—One day after college and high school students poured into the streets of many cities across Iraq, hundreds of people challenged the curfew imposed in Baghdad and the Iraqi uprising continues with strong momentum. High school students were heard chanting, “No school, no work until this regime is toppled.”
This second round of massive protests in Iraq was launched on Thursday, October 24, and neither these students nor anyone protesting in cities checkered across central and southern Iraq is taking the warnings issued by government officials seriously.
Authorities have been warning demonstrators to evacuate Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. On Monday, at least five demonstrators were killed at this site. Reports from the holy city of Karbala indicate security forces opening fire on demonstrators at past midnight and early Tuesday morning local time. Many videos are posted online showing young demonstrators shot in the face and losing their lives as others scramble to provide care and/or take them to a nearby hospital.
These demonstrations and clashes between protesters and militia forces supported by the Iranian regime continued into early morning hours of Wednesday, local time.
On Monday, thousands of high school and college students, representing Iraq’s younger generation, were actively participating in demonstrations. Sixty percent of the Iraqi population are considered youths and this country are riddled with an unemployment crisis.
The Iraqi Central Teachers Union Council issued a statement on Monday expressing their solidarity with the four-day strike launched by the demonstrators.
The Iraqi Bar Association has announced a week-long general strike and the Engineers Union, despite all the security measures to prevent their access to areas where strikes and demonstrations are taking place.
Iran’s state TV has been airing various shows providing Tehran’s perspective on Iraq. “The scope of this conspiracy is quite enormous,” one state-linked analyst said.
“The volume of these protests and the expansion of this movement, parallel to the behaviors witnessed in attacks targeting government centers, senior officials, private property, assassinating certain individuals, torching banks, storming and torching governors’ offices, provincial headquarters, ministries, stealing from banks and chants calling for the government to resign, the constitution to be revoked and the government to be annulled… What next? I believe these are far beyond legitimate demands… All these events are taking place between Baghdad and Basra (southern Iraq). All these events, deaths and injuries are between Baghdad and Basra. This means nine Shiite provinces. Do they want to launch a Shiite-Shiite war? It appears the scope of this conspiracy is massive,” the report said.
On Sunday, October 27, in another state TV program concentrating on Iraq, concerns were voiced over the protesters’ targeting Iran-backed militia groups. “There are now voices heard among the people calling for the official Iraqi government to resign. Iraqi protesters initially called for improvements in public services, employment and a concentrated effort against corruption. As the footage was posted online showing direct fire from unknown areas targeting the people, these mercenaries recently assassinated two senior members of the Asaeb movement… In this attack, after unidentified men shot Osam al-Aliyawi, they followed him and his brother, martyring them in a hospital,” the report adds.
Sa’dollah Zarei, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and a figure close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, shed further light on Tehran’s concerns over its affiliated sites and militia groups being targeted in central and southern Iraq. This vividly indicates that the Iraqi people despise the IRGC Quds Force and its belligerence in Iraq.
“Any event taking place anywhere can be inspirational for another area. It would be quite natural for us to say that Lebanon was inspired by Iraq, and Iraq can be inspired from another location. In Lebanon, we are witnessing a number of irregular signs. All in all, we may be witnessing this story for weeks and months to come,” he added.
“The situation in Iraq is very similar to the society in Lebanon. In these demonstrations we are witnessing attacks on various Shiite groups, meaning attacks on Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, their members being killed. Around 10 to 15 of them have been martyred. In a recent development, there was an attack targeting the al-Hekma party, their offices, and various centers. They attacked Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) offices and all of a sudden we witness attacks targeting Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, and ten individuals being viciously murdered,” Zarei continued.