Though the eyes of the world are clearly on the public uprisings in other nations, particularly Libya, another nation has erupted into mass protests against its regime today, demanding major reforms and improved access to services. That nation is Iraq.
Indeed despite angry threats from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki against the possible demonstrations, such protests were held nationwide today, prompting the resignations of a number of local officials and violent crackdowns by the nation’s securty forces against tens of thousands of discontented protesters from northern Kurdistan to the southern port of Basra.
Official tolls have continued to rise throughout the day, and at present it is believed that a minimum of 23 Iraqi protesters were slain by security forces, slain while demanding access to clean water and better hospital services. Hundreds of others are believed to have been wounded.
It is noteworthy that the Obama Administration has been entirely mum on the Iraqi crackdown, particularly as the US still has some 50,000 troops in Iraq to back up the Maliki-led regime. One can at least be relieved that the US troops were not directly involved in any of today’s crackdowns, but if the protests in Iraq continue to escalate as they have elsewhere in the region, one wonders how long it will be before the regime requests their help in “controlling” the upsurge of pro-democracy protesters.
5 thoughts on “At Least 23 Killed as Iraq Cracks Down on Huge Protests”
“BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraq has postponed the planned purchase of 18 F-16 fighter planes from the United States this year and diverted the funds to feeding the poor, an official said on Monday, amid growing protests that have been inspired by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
"The F-16 contract has been postponed this year and the money has been diverted toward improving food rations" for the poor, government spokesman Ali Dabbagh told AFP.” http://en.news.maktoob.com/20090000582756/Iraq_di…
Why would Iraq spend money on aircraft which will do them nothing. The USA air force is never going to leave Iraq. Iraq is now the military base for the USA military. The people of Iraq can see the power of the USA and the face that the USA will allow millions to die. What will develop in Iraq is a welfare state bleeding billions forever from the USA Taxpayers. Funny how Saddams nations will probably end up costing more that Israel.
An interesting question that you raise, which in turn suggests others, including that of reparations, but to stick to your concern; it has possibly become a matter of national pride, so far as Maliki's government is concerned, that Iraq possess its own air force once more. Iraq is producing oil again, though yesterday's attack on one of its three major refineries is a setback, and significant revenues are flowing into the Iraq treasury once more. These oil profits are obviously not being shared with the general population, and you have to suspect corruption. It is US corporations, notably the weapons manufacturers and the private security contractors who are milking the US tax payer, and so from one point of view this victory for people power in forcing a $3 billion liability to be cancelled might also have benefited the people of the US too. Meanwhile, it remains the responsibility of US citizens to hold their own leaders accountable regarding the obscene and unsustainable 'defence' budget that their government is still throwing to the war industries.
I wonder why Jason D. repeatedly refers to the Arabs involved in these uprisings as "pro-democracy protesters". It seems to me that they are anti-government protesters and by implication anti-corruption and anti-imperial, but not necessarily pro-democracy. Democracy is a western political concept that in the 20th century, and especially in America, has degenerated into a structure of religious belief. To me it probably always was just a corrupt religious belief.
Americans will hold their leaders responsible for their illegal, irresponsible, murderous behavior about the same time they stop watching television and pay attention to the fact that the United States is behind Cuba in infant mortality, behind the Czech Republic in longevity, and second rate in nearly every quality of life measure because all the money that could make this nation a paradise is spent on murder and oppression abroad and enriching 2% of the population at home.
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