The new wave of Iraqi protests in Baghdad and the southern provinces intensified. Since Sunday, 19 January, Iraqis have taken to the streets in Baghdad, Diyala, Basra and Karbala to demonstrate that they have not stepped back from their desire to overthrow the current government and have a free election.
According to a Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights report on 21 January, at least 10 people were killed, 135 injured and 88 arrested by government forces in the recent protests which swept Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces.
Al Jazeera reported in a January 22 news release:
Iraqi police fought running street battles with anti-government demonstrators on Tuesday, firing tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse stone-throwing youth pressing for an overhaul of a political system they see as deeply corrupt.
Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid reported from Baghdad:
“It is a very multifaceted, tough challenge for the politicians, and the protesters are saying they will continue to come out until the government meets their demands, or kills them all.”
The Iraqi people are calling for the removal of the government and to have a free election in which independent candidates will refrain from sectarianism, corruption and affiliation with Iran.
Since October 2019, when the protests began, more than 500 people have been killed in Iraq and nearly 23,000 people have been injured.
Analysts say the Iranian regime is trying to divert Iraqi protests through proxy groups under the slogan “against the US occupation”. The reason is that the Iraqi uprisings has caused the Iranian regime to lose its hegemony in the region and severely weakened it. Given Iran’s internal conditions and the Iranian protests that began in November 2019, the loss of Iraq will further shake the Iranian regime, and the prospects for the future will be bleak.
On 22 January, Iran’s official news agency IRNA wrote in a news release calling for a demonstration on Friday:
“The call was welcomed by Iraqi political figures and groups, including Hadi al-Ameri, head of the Fatah coalition, Qais al-Khazaali secretary-general of Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, and dozens of individuals and political parties in the country.”
Qais Khazali, the secretary-general of Iraq’s Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, on January 22, while stressing the Iraqi people’s protest against the presence of US troops in the country on Friday said: “Iraq is by no means occupiable and be occupied, and its people are able to expel the occupiers.”
Analysts say it is clear that the uprisings and the protests of the Iraqi people, which began in mid-October will continue until the demands of the people are realized, which means free elections and an end to the Iranian regime’s influence in Iraq, while the regime is trying to change the situation of the protests to its own benefits.
An attempt that was tried once by the regime’s proxy groups on 31 December led by Hadi al-Ameri, Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, and Qais al-Khazali by attacking the US embassy in Baghdad, which led to a disgusting failure and scandal, and the Iraqi people separated their way from the Iranian regime’s proxies.