Despite Reform Pledges, Unrest Continues in Iraqi Kurdistan

Protest Site in Sulaymaniyah Attacked Overnight

Though it has the reputation of being the “good part” of Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan clearly has a number of problems, and its residents are increasingly venting their grievances against the Kurdistan Regional Government with public protest.

The protests have mostly centered around accusations of corruption by the ruling factions and criticism of the often violent crackdowns against dissent. Though KRG Prime Minister Burham Saleh has promised more reforms, the protests are continuing.

And growing. While the protests had previously been restricted to Friday, as they have been in much of Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan has seen protests continue through the weekend, particularly in Sulaymaniyah, where protesters have set up camps and aren’t going anywhere.

Which sparked some attacks overnight, as protesters report that some of the tents were set on fire and that masked gunmen captured some of the protesters and dragged them off to destinations unknown. Though it isn’t clear who is responsible for this most of the protests see it as an attack by the regime itself, and given the past violence against them, this belief isn’t entirely unfounded.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.