Iraq. Militants take back Mosul, Tikrit and march on Baghdad

Two protesters killed in clashes with Iraqi police as unrest...
Two months later, still no govt, just over 60 of the 90 days gone. Protests for numerous reasons are ongoing in the south, not least because of public services and corruption. Earlier Police fires over the heads of crowds injuring many. Now two reportedly killed after Police ‘returned fire’. To date no interruption of oil supplies:
“Hundreds of people tried to storm a courthouse. Shots were fired toward us. It was not clear who was shooting. We had no choice but to open fire,” said the police official in Samawa.

Earlier, police in oil hub Basra wounded 48 people when they fired in the air to disperse a crowd of hundreds that tried to storm a government building and demonstrated near an oil field.
Elsewhere, flights from Jordan and Iran to Najaf are now diverted.
 
Two protesters killed in clashes with Iraqi police as unrest...
Two months later, still no govt, just over 60 of the 90 days gone. Protests for numerous reasons are ongoing in the south, not least because of public services and corruption. Earlier Police fires over the heads of crowds injuring many. Now two reportedly killed after Police ‘returned fire’. To date no interruption of oil supplies:


Elsewhere, flights from Jordan and Iran to Najaf are now diverted.
The services in Basra are very poor.
The drought is affecting the marshlands badly, and the Tigris and Euphrates are running very low due to upstream dams in Iran and Turkey.
The drought is so bad that many farmers have been ordered not to plant crops this year.
 
Iraqi president convenes new parliament for Sept. 3
Iraq’s new Parliament set to be convened on 03.09.2018. Recount delayed appointment by 3 months. Al-Sadr looks to still hold the majority:
“The president has held several substantive talks with all political groups, urging them to finalize their political agreements in order to meet constitutional provisions,” Masum’s office said in a statement.
 
Violent protests have been occurring in Basra. The main issue appears to be deficiencies in the water and electrical supplies. Basra airport targeted by rocket fire as violent protests grip Iraq | CBC News

The protests have been going on since July, but became much more intense this week.
Basra, Iraq's second biggest city located in the country's Shi'ite heartland, has been roiled by five days of deadly demonstrations, during which government buildings have been ransacked and set alight by protesters angry over political corruption.

Protests first erupted in July over poor government services, but intensified this week.
The main issue has been failures in the infrastructure, including no electric power or safe drinking water. Apparently thousands of people have been hospitalized from drinking the water.
Residents in Basra, a city of more than two million people, say they have been driven to the streets by corruption and misrule that allowed infrastructure to collapse, leaving no power or safe drinking water in the heat of summer.

They say the water supply has become contaminated with salt, making them vulnerable and desperate in the hot summer months, and thousands of people have been hospitalized from drinking it.
At least 13 protesters have died, and dozens wounded in clashes with security forces.
Three protesters died on Friday and 48 more were wounded, 26 of whom were shot, sources said, while two members of the security force were wounded.

At least 13 protesters have died, some in clashes with security forces, since Monday and dozens more have been wounded, the Basra Health directorate and local health sources said.
The central government held an emergency cabinet meeting on the issue on Saturday. Various buildings have been torched, including main government offices and the Iranian embassy.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who held an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday hours before parliament was due to convene an emergency session to discuss the crisis, said in a statement that he had ordered an investigation into the security forces "for not fulfilling their duties" in protecting government buildings and the Iranian consulate.
 
Arab autumn, little early this years?
It seems to be a local issue resulting from dysfunctional government. The present political setup nationally haven't been able to tie their own shoes, let alone deal adequately with anything as challenging as water and electricity supply. This also played a large part in the take over of northern Iraq by IS.

I have seen some references to major new water supply facilities being worked on for Basra (an Australian company had a major role in this), but how this all fits into the overall scope of the problem isn't clear.

There is also hot weather, drought, and Turkey has been holding back water supplies from the headwaters in the mountains where much of the water originates while they fill the reservoirs behind their new dams.

Al Jazeera had some video of the situation. The water coming out of the pipes is dark and stinking. The fish can't live in the rivers. All this in 50 degree heat.

The wonderful paradise that was to be the new Iraq has turned out to fall a little short of what was promised when the victorious west packed up and left after the occupation.

An Iran style theocratic revolution wouldn't surprise me overly much at this stage, although I don't know if the country is quite that desperate yet. That in turn could lead to a three-way split along the ethnic and theological boundaries.
 
Unrest intensifies in Iraq as Iranian consulate and oil facility...
Seems that in addition to failing to form a govt. perceived corruption problems, water, infrastructure problems, killing protestors etc they’re also not happy with the Iranians. In addition to damage to the Iranian consulate and shouted condemnation of what they perceive as Iranian sway over the Iraqi govt. They also took some oil company workers hostage temporarily. No doubt it would have been a bountiful utopia if Saddam had remained in power.....

Iranian influence is seen as holding sway over the Iraqi govt and is one of the reasons al Sadr’s party did so well in the election. He’s against Iranian and US influence in the country. Luckily, the consulate was empty and the Iraqi Foreign Ministry have apologised and said the protestors demands were nothing to do with Iran:
Civil unrest fueled by anger against perceived corruption and misrule by Iraq’s political elite intensified across the south of the country on Friday, as protesters stormed the Iranian consulate in Basra while others briefly took workers hostage at a nearby oilfield.

After five days of deadly demonstrations in Basra in which government buildings have been ransacked and set alight, protesters broke in and damaged the consulate’s offices, shouting condemnation of what many perceive as Iran’s sway over Iraq’s political affairs.

Security sources said the consulate was empty when the crowd burst in. Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said the storming of the consulate, which it deeply regretted, had nothing to do with protesters’ demands.
Iran has said the perpetrators must be identified and punished. Amongst others, there are Russian and US Consulates in Basra:
“The targeting of diplomatic missions is unacceptable and detrimental to the interests of Iraq,” said ministry spokesman Ahmed Mahjoub.

Iran, however, blamed Iraq for failing to protect its embassy and said it expected Baghdad to “identify and punish the attackers quickly,” Bahram Qassemi, the spokesman for the ministry, told journalists, according to state media.

The Iraqi ambassador to Tehran was later summoned to the foreign ministry over the complaints.

Several foreign governments have consulates in the city, including the United States and Russia.
The US has condemned attacks on diplomats, their facilities and called on all parties to uphold the principle of peaceful protests. Protesters also entered a water treatment facility linked to the West Qurna 2 oilfield, managed by Russia’s Lukoil and took two Iraqi employees hostage temporarily:
In a statement, the U.S. State Department condemned the violence against diplomats and called on “all parties, including security forces and protesters, to uphold the right of peaceful protest and to protect diplomats and their facilities.”

Late in the day some 65 kilometers north-west of Iraq’s second biggest city, another group of protesters entered a water treatment facility linked to the West Qurna 2 oilfield, managed by Russia’s Lukoil
......
The protesters held two Iraqi employees hostage for about an hour before leaving the facility peacefully, according to a Lukoil source and a source with Basra’s energy police. Production was not disrupted, a manager at the oilfield said.
Iraq imports the majority of its food and Umm Qasr has been blocked since Thursday:
The unrest in Basra could have deeper implications for a country that imports most of its food.

Since Thursday, protesters have shut Iraq’s only major sea port at Umm Qasr, 60 km (40 miles) south of Basra. It remained shut on Friday, local officials and security sources said, although oil exports, carried out from offshore platforms, have not been affected.
The Iranian Consulate was stormed hours after Ayatollah Ali Sistani (Shi’a most revered cleric in Iraq) called for a govt to be formed “different from its predecessors” and for violence against protestors to be halted:
The storming of the consulate came hours after Iraq’s most revered Shi’ite cleric called for a political shakeup in Baghdad and a halt to violence against the protesters.

Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the ultimate authority for devout members of Iraq’s Shi’ite majority who normally holds himself above day-to-day politics, placed blame for the unrest with political leaders and said a new government should be formed, “different from its predecessors”.
 
The wonderful paradise that was to be the new Iraq has turned out to fall a little short of what was promised when the victorious west packed up and left after the occupation.
It was a shit heap under Saddam, and remains a less than ideal place to live under the administration they have in place now..

The social fabric of society in a lot of the ME is violent dangerous and less than ideal, and has been for centuries.

It was not a ‘Paradise’ before and to even hint that it might be a ‘Paradise’ after the West left is somewhat disengenous at the very least.

Iraq under Saddam was pursuing active development of WMD, as indeed Iran continues doing so now.

Iraq and Syria have both demonstrated their willingness to use WMD even against their own people, Iran in fact used children as mine clearance ‘martyrs’ in the Iraq Iran war.

The value attached to individual human life over there is on a different scale to that in the ‘west’ and in other parts of the world. The West went in to remove the ability of those in Iraq and Syria to deal death on the scale afforded by Chemical, Biological and Nuclear means, it was less a do-good reason then that of simple self presevation.
 
It was a shit heap under Saddam, and remains a less than ideal place to live under the administration they have in place now..
And there is no time in the past few decades in which it hasn't been a shit heap. In other words, the shit heapery isn't a recent development although it appears to have gotten somewhat worse this summer. We therefore should not be looking to geopolitical events or nefarious foreign plots for explanations behind the recent political violence. These may be straws which some people will grasp at to try to explain away the fundamental problems which are the poor condition of the electrical and water supplies, but they cannot provide a credible explanation on their own.

Maintaining these services is one of the fundamental roles of government, and the present system under which government is conducted is not fit for purpose despite the great promises which were made.

(Much verbiage about what a bad person Saddam Hussein was)
Which has sod all to do with the ability to provide clean drinking water under the current government today. The other Arab oil dictatorships in the region seem to be able to do that while still engaging in murderous thuggery towards their own populations and their neighbours.

If the clown show of a government in Iraq cannot begin to function effectively and actually do the sorts of things a government is expected to be able to do, we should not be surprised to see the wheels continue to come off and a crash which ends the whole thing.
 
Basra wasn't always a heap but years of sanctions, neglect and misrule have left it in an awful state.
 
Resasi said:
(Much verbiage about what a bad person Saddam Hussein was)

@terminal if you wish to ‘quote' what I said then I think that should be followed by the words I actauly said...NOT your less than perfect interpretation of what you ‘think' I said!!!

What I actually did say follows, and is the actual ‘quote'.
Iraq under Saddam was pursuing active development of WMD, as indeed Iran continues doing so now.

Iraq and Syria have both demonstrated their willingness to use WMD even against their own people, Iran in fact used children as mine clearance ‘martyrs’ in the Iraq Iran war.

The value attached to individual human life over there is on a different scale to that in the ‘west’ and in other parts of the world. The West went in to remove the ability of those in Iraq and Syria to deal death on the scale afforded by Chemical, Biological and Nuclear means, it was less a do-good reason then that of simple self presevation.
If you feel any of that was (Much verbiage about what a bad person Saddam Hussein was) then by all means disagree, put up a reasoned argument for you disagreement but don’t pass that bullshit statement of yours off as a quote of mine.

Your statement blamed the West for what is now happening.
The wonderful paradise that was to be the new Iraq has turned out to fall a little short of what was promised when the victorious west packed up and left after the occupation.
But it appears that that blame has shifted and you now are saying...'If the clown show of a government in Iraq cannot begin to function effectively and actually do the sorts of things a government is expected to be able to do, we should not be surprised to see the wheels continue to come off and a crashwhich ends the whole thing."

Which has sod all to do with the ability to provide clean drinking water under the current government today. The other Arab oil dictatorships in the region seem to be able to do that while still engaging in murderous thuggery towards their own populations and their neighbours.

If the clown show of a government in Iraq cannot begin to function effectively and actually do the sorts of things a government is expected to be able to do, we should not be surprised to see the wheels continue to come off and a crash which ends the whole thing.
 
Resasi said:
(Much verbiage about what a bad person Saddam Hussein was)

@terminal if you wish to ‘quote' what I said then I think that should be followed by the words I actauly said...NOT your less than perfect interpretation of what you ‘think' I said!!!

What I actually did say follows, and is the actual ‘quote'.


If you feel any of that was (Much verbiage about what a bad person Saddam Hussein was) then by all means disagree, put up a reasoned argument for you disagreement but don’t pass that bullshit statement of yours off as a quote of mine.
If you feel offended by my summarizing what I felt was the essence of your argument, then I apologize. That still doesn't change the essence of what my reply would be however, which was:
Which has sod all to do with the ability to provide clean drinking water under the current government today. The other Arab oil dictatorships in the region seem to be able to do that while still engaging in murderous thuggery towards their own populations and their neighbours.
Your statement blamed the West for what is now happening.


But it appears that that blame has shifted and you now are saying...'If the clown show of a government in Iraq cannot begin to function effectively and actually do the sorts of things a government is expected to be able to do, we should not be surprised to see the wheels continue to come off and a crashwhich ends the whole thing."
There is no contradiction between what I said in the second post versus the first. The second follows from the first and provides additional clarification.

The government of Iraq is not fit for purpose and the promises of peace, democracy, and prosperity made by the occupying powers have not been realized. Basra lacks drinkable water and Mosul is a pile of rubble mixed with rotting corpses. The government has failed abjectly and quite visibly. It does not take much imagination to see the population becoming completely disillusioned with it and to lay much of the blame on the western powers it was established under.

The question then becomes one of when the wheels come off the clown car and who steps in to pick up whatever marbles are left. IS made a good try at it, but perhaps al-Sadr will be the one to finally make a go of it.

Muqtada al-Sadr calls on Iraq PM to step down as Basra crisis deepens
Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who had entered an alliance with Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi following elections earlier this year, has called upon the premier to resign as deadly protests in the southern city of Basra worsen.

"We demand the government apologise to the people and resign immediately," said Hassan al-Aqouli, spokesman for Sadr's list, which won the most seats in May's poll.

Ahmed al-Assadi, spokesman for the second-largest list, Conquest Alliance, also called for Abadi's resignation, denouncing "the government's failure to resolve the crisis in Basra".
Protests are spreading beyond Basra.
The wave of protests first broke out in Basra in July before spreading to other parts of the country, with demonstrators condemning corruption among Iraqi officials and demanding jobs.

Since then, at least 27 people have been killed nationwide.
I'm not sure that al-Sadr is the type to have a deep and abiding commitment to constitutional forms of government should it get in his way.
 
Protests dash Iraqi PM's chances of new term, hit U.S. hopes of...
Looks like Abidi will be on his way out and an 'alliance' with Sadr's party and Amiri an Iranian backed Shia Militia Commander. Abidi has failed to deal with the problems in Iraq, especially in Basra and al Sadr feels that any alliance with him will lose his support, so he'll be going with Amiri:
“Talks between Fatih and Saeroon are serious and could lead to a breakthrough in the political crisis soon,” said lawmaker Razzaq al-Haidari, a member of Amiri’s Badr Organisation.
What it means is that the leading candidates will withdraw their nomination eg Amiri withdraws his candidacy and Abidi isn't eligible. How this works out in practice remains to be seen:
The two sides are still negotiating details, the sources said. But one senior source in Fatih said a compromise had been agreed under which both would withdraw their leading candidates for the premiership.

“That’s what we (Saeroun and Fatih) agreed on, so Amiri has withdrawn his candidacy. And we agreed that Abadi isn’t eligible for a second term,” the source said.
Sadr and Amiri look certain to form a coalition. Sadr can't put his name behind Abidi as it will affect his popularity:
Sadr and Amiri agreed on Wednesday to accelerate the formation of a government. Full details of their talks were not available but a coalition looks imminent.

“Abadi’s failure in managing the Basra crisis totally convinced Sadr that supporting Abadi will put his status and popularity among millions of followers on the line,” said Baghdad-based analyst Ahmed Younis.
Despite the removal of IS (they're actually still there, they just don't hold any ground per se), any populkarity gained by Abidi has been lost because of the protests in Basra. Sadr still positions himself as a nationalist opposed to both US and Iranian influence in his country:
“The message from Basra is loud and clear for all political elites,” said Ali al-Mawlawi, the head of Research at Baghdad-based Al Bayan Center. “They’ve realised, if you like, that there’s a ticking time bomb.”

Sadr portrays himself as a fierce nationalist opposed to both U.S. and Iranian interference in Iraq, but would have to give regional power Iran some room for manoeuvre in any partnership with Amiri’s bloc.
The rest of the article goes into further detail of the 'power play' politics ongoing in Iraq with the vying interests of the US and Iran. However, according to a Renad Mansour a Chatham House Iraq expert, it's saying to both the US and Iran, stop treating us as a proxy and consider us an ally:
“The way the Americans and the Iranians have viewed Iraq until now is if they back their horse, they can control the country,” said Renad Mansour, an Iraq expert at the Chatham House think-tank in London.

“What this new potential coalition is saying – or at least what the Sadrists are saying – is we don’t have a problem with international affairs. But you can no longer treat us as your proxies. We’re not your proxies, we’re your allies.”
All to play for but it looks like Abidi is out. What that means for the US in Iraq remains to be seen after the govt is formed. The same applies to Iran in Iraq and how their militias continue.

There is of course the problems which led to IS managing to control large swathes of the country and how the disaffected Sunni population feel about the new (if it comes about) govt.
 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-politics-amiri/iraq-shiite-paramilitary-leader-al-amiri-withdraws-candidacy-for-pm-idUSKCN1LY0ST
Further to 4,754 above, Amiri has dropped his candidacy. This means the way is open for his Faith Alliance Party which came second and Sadr’s to form a government:
“I would like to announce to the dear Iraqi people the withdrawal of my candidacy for prime minister, to open the way for serious dialogue to elect a prime minister and his government according to the vision of the Supreme religious authority,” he said in a news conference.
 

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