Analysis by PMOI/MEK
July 17, 2018 - Social media activists reported on Monday that, during their protests, the people of Basra, Iraq, had set ablaze large banners of Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei, the original founder and the current supreme leader of the Iranian regime. The protesters also religious authorities to issue a fatwa against politicians who have ties with the Iranian regime.
Basra, a province south of Iraq, has a majority Shiite population and the Iranian regime boasts of having a large base of support there. It is one of the many southern provinces that have recently seen unrest due to the lack of public services and an expansion of corruption in government institutions.
In the Al-Muthanna, another southern province, protesters set fire to the offices of the al-Dawa party, which is led by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is known for his close ties with the Iranian regime. The protesters also set fire to the facilities of the Badr Organization, a militia outfit that is funded and backed by the Iranian regime and is led by Hadi al-Amiri, a notorious terrorist who directly takes orders from Tehran. The protesters accused these organizations of corruption and collusion with the Iranian regime.
A security official said that on Sunday, two protesters were killed in Samawah, al-Muthanna, during clashes between protesters and security forces. The official said that security forces opened fire on protesters after they tried to overtake the city’s courthouse.
In Basra city, protesters occupied the governorate building and were subsequently dispersed by the police. The clashes led to the injury of four people. The people also tried to overtake the Al-Zubeir oil facility in southwestern Basra but security forces prevented them from doing so.
In Umm Qasr Port, Basra, the protesters, who were demanding improvement in government services, closed down the entrances to the port, which is one of the crucial import stations of the country.
Monday marked the eighth consecutive day that Basra has seen protests stemming from unemployment and lack of government services.
According to local reports, Basra and other southern provinces are also facing continued internet blackouts. In Nasiriyah, the largest city of Iraq’s Dhi Qar province, large clashes erupted between protesters and security forces on Sunday, in which 15 protesters and 25 security forces were injured.
In Najaf, a power center for Shiite religious authorities, protesters took to the streets on Sunday, but security forces dispersed them. According to AFP, large contingents of Peace Brigades, a paramilitary group, were seen in the streets of the city.
According to Al-Arabiya, Iraq’s interior ministry dismissed Najaf’s police chief after Sunday’s protests.
In Karbala, another Shiite power center, the people gathered in front of the city council and clashed with security forces.
Following the unrests, Jordan’s state airlines and Fly Dubai suspended flights to the Najaf airport.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that the government will urgently allocate $3 billion to housing, schools, and improvement of government services and be countering unemployment in Basra. Abadi also said he will also specify a budget for water purification and health services soon.