Iraqi protester activists — and journalists covering the protests — are being killed in greater numbers by unidentified armed groups in an apparent attempt to curtail the demonstrations.A demonstrator carries an Iraqi flag as he walks near burning tires, during ongoing anti-government protests, Najaf, Iraq, Jan. 12, 2020.
Forces opposed to the protests in Iraq appear to have stepped up operations to kill protest activists and journalists covering the demonstrations following the escalation of the crisis between the United States and Iran in Iraq.
Hundreds of protesters have been reported killed since the protests began in early October.
Iraq Situation Report: January 14 – 16, 2020
Key Takeaway: Iran is preparing to increase political pressure against the U.S. presence in Iraq by generating significant anti-American protests on Friday, January 24 with support from nationalist Shi’a cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Iran seeks to integrate Sadr into a new “resistance front” that aligns Iranian proxy groups with Sadr’s popular influence to expel U.S. forces. Sadr has thus far supported this effort but retains freedom of action and will continue to support popular protests against the Iraqi state, which Iran views as a severe threat.
View the Iraq Situation Report Map by Brandon Wallace and Katherine Lawlor here.
by Diliman Abdulkader and Tiffany J. Howard | January 16, 2020 12:00 AM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
The death of Iranian Quds Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani placed the entire Middle East, if not the world, on edge. Iran’s recently growing stronghold only demonstrates that it is time for the United States to support an option that will counter Iranian power and chaos: an independent Kurdistan. In the past, the U.S. relied on its allies to help balance power in the Middle East. Israel remains a strong American ally but needs our help to deter Iran’s blatant power grabs. Previously, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon acted as buffers between Iran and Israel. But Iran has actively sought control in each of these three countries in order to create a land bridge between itself and Israel. Today, Iran controls Lebanon’s Hezbollah and props up Syria’s brutal dictator, Bashar Assad, using him as a puppet.
Despite America’s history and presence in Iraq, Iran’s influence there, too, is undeniable. Iran was behind the recent attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Iran orchestrated the Iraqi parliament’s vote to expel U.S. troops. And Iran is responsible for the attacks on American service members in Iraq at the al Asad air base and in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region in Iraq.
Jack Detsch January 11, 2020 – Article Summary – AL MONITOR – Iraq’s caretaker prime minister privately does not want US troops to withdraw, several American and Iraqi sources familiar with the situation told Al-Monitor.
Iraq’s caretaker prime minister privately does not want US troops to withdraw, several sources familiar with the situation told Al-Monitor, though Adel Abdul Mahdi publicly backed a recent parliamentary vote that urged the Donald Trump administration to exit the war-torn country.
Despite calling on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to send an American delegation to Iraq to negotiate the withdrawal of US troops in a readout of a Friday call, Abdul Mahdi is trying to find a way to keep an American presence in the country while attempting to placate Iran-backed militia leaders who want to force 5,200 US troops out, a source familiar with the situation on the ground said.
BILD 11an 2020
Kurden-Präsident: „Jetzt ist nicht der richtige Zeitpunkt für Abzug“. Diesen Artikel … Kurden-Präsident Barzanî zur Lage im Irak | „Es ist zu früh für einen Abzug …
By Ofra Bengio January 10, 2020 – BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,398, January 10, 2019 – ISRAEL
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The killing of Qassem Soleimani could prove to be a turning point in the history of the Middle East as a whole, but first and foremost in Iraq. That country has been contending for months with a popular uprising that has produced chaos and turned it into an arena for a titanic battle between Iran and the US.
The Iraqi uprising erupted on October 1, 2019. Several months earlier, an Iraqi journalist published a scathing article under the headline, “Is Iraq Now a Leaf Blowing in the Wind?”
To answer that question, we need to look into the roots of the problems in post-Saddam Iraq, the cycles in which the country has been trapped since its establishment, and the possible impact of the uprising on Iraq’s future.
by David Pollock PolicyWatch 3238 January 9, 2020
A host of crucial multilateral interests are baked into the U.S. presence, from keeping the Islamic State down, to protecting vulnerable regional allies, to preventing Iran from taking Iraq’s oil revenues.
The assassination of Qasem Soleimani has brought the tensions in U.S.-Iraqi relations to a boil, with militia factions strong-arming a parliamentary resolution on American troop withdrawal and various European allies contemplating departures of their own. Before they sign the divorce papers, however, officials in Baghdad and Washington should consider the many reasons why staying together is best for both them and the Middle East.
TO SAVE THE VICTORY AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE
9 Jan 2020 – AFP @afp – RUDAW – Arch-foes Tehran and Washington may be temporarily calling it even after Iranian missiles targeted US forces in Iraq, but analysts predict violent instability will keep blighting Baghdad.
“Iraq will remain a zone of conflict,” said Randa Slim of the Washington based Middle East Institute.
The embassy attackers got far more attention than a broad-based Iraqi reform movement, which is now imperiled by U.S.-Iranian tensions. – January 7, 2020 Rasha Al Aqeedi – THE ATLANTIC
Baghdad’s Tahrir Square has been the center of ongoing protests since last October, but on New Year’s Eve it looked like any other public celebration venue—with music, dancing, food and drinks, and fireworks at midnight as the assembled crowd cheered. But that was not the event that received attention around the world.