Iraq has been rocked by a new wave of public protests, and different sources and media activists belive that unemployment and lack of proper public services are the main causes of the recent unrest in the Arab country.
The recent events in Iraq and some groups’ protests against the political and economic situation in this country, particularly at a time when the massive some-million-strong march of Arbaeen was underway, made us go among Iraqi citizens to have a closer look unaffected by media hype in order to discuss and examine different perspectives.
To this end, FNA correspondent went to Baghdad to talk to some of the media people and academic scholars who usually gather on Fridays in Mutnabi Street.
Iraqi scholars call for a paradigm shift in the political system
As you listen, you can clearly hear the voices of everybody’s protest against the status quo. Most of the protests are against corruption, lack of basic services and unemployment. Writer and media expert Abdul Jalil Deiri does not see recent government reforms as fundamental and comprehensive, and believes that the Iraqi political system, which is based on religious and ethnic criteria, must be changed. Mehdi Hamid Jassim, who has been a member of the Baghdad City Council for the last 16 years, is also of the same opinion. He views the presidential system as the solution to Iraq’s problems so that the head of the government can appoint and dismiss cabinet ministers. He argues that the recent protests had both positive and negative aspects; the positive aspect is that it belongs to no home-based or foreign-based party or political movement, but to the uprising of the low-class, brave and the youth of the homeland; However, the negative point is the lack of a leadership to guide the masses.
The Shiite authority and the public demands
What is one of the heated debates of these days in Iraqi political spheres is the pungent and forthright statement of the senior Shiite clerics of Iraq calling on the government to identify the agents and perpetrators responsible for the recent insurgencies and events in the Arab country. However, Dr. Jafar al-Thaan, a clergyman and university professor, believes that the role of the Shiite authority in society is outlined within a specific framework and religious authorities have the role of a discharge valve in society and can no longer engage in political and economic issues.
Security sources say protests are being manipulated
The soft warfare capabilities of the enemies cannot be ignored in the case of the recent Iraqi protests.
It seems as if political factions which opposed the current administration, despite being in an alliance with other political factions and currents, have come to an agreement with the remnants of the Ba’ath party to overthrow the current system. Facebook pages, which are mostly leading the protests in the cyberspace, according to remarks by an Iraqi security official, are trying to guide protests into a keyword: Iran. It should be born in mind that the enemies of the current political system of Iraq and those enemies who had already been punished by the Resistance Front may be trying to defame the Islamic Republic of Iran, undermine the massive march of Arbaeen pilgrimage, blunt the media coverage of the unique congregation of millions of pilgrims in Arbaeen march. And to meet these objectives they had no option other than resorting to their cyber-agents and infiltrators to frame Iran as the one to be held accountable for the plight of Iraq after the fall of the tyrannical and savage Baathist regime, particularly at a time when many Iraqi officials have been having good relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iraqi security official voiced his surprise that many Facebook pages active in the fields of trade and business turned into pages calling for “anti-Iran protests” just a couple of days before the protests broke out in Iraq, saying that these suspicious activities had been coordinated and planned.
Interestingly, these acts of coordination have been at all levels. One intelligence officer, who has been watching protests closely in the field of events, referred to the seizure of various weapons, narcotics and explosives from some intruders and infiltrating agents among protesters, and underlined that what has been confiscated shows that some secret hands are involved behind the scenes planning and manipulating protests in a synchronous and arranged way.
Media sources: legitimate demands of the people and shortcomings of the government
IRIB correspondent Jalal Khaledi, who is one of the media people present in Iraq and has been actively watching and having dynamic presence in other political, military, security, social and cultural events in the Arab country, says that the main causes of the recent protests in Iraq are government’s failure in providing proper services to Iraqi citizens and addressing the problem of unemployment, particularly for university graduates.
Khaledi praised Hashd al-Shaabi popular forces for not interfering in the recent protests, describing the Hashd al-Shaabi strategy as a positive point, adding that Hashd al-Shaabi has seen itself on the side of the masses of people.
This media activist criticized the Iraqi government’s failure in preventing the recent crises, stating that all embassies and spy services present in Iraq were ready to surf on the waves of protests. He believes that Iraqi authorities should be in unmediated and immediate touch with Iraqi people to directly feel the problems of citizens.
Khaledi dismissed anti-Iran video clips released on the Internet as irrelevant with recent events in Iraq, and believes that 80% of protesters, people and youth are protesting against the country’s current situation, adding that it is natural for some to pounce on this opportunity to pursue their anti-Iran agenda.