Demonstrators who forced their way into the Green Zone, the fortified section of Iraq’s capital, occupying the house of parliament over the weekend, have withdrawn today at the behest of key cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, though on their way out they warned they would be back.
The protesters have backed a campaign of reform, including the installation of a technocrat cabinet, for months now, and after two solid weeks of parliament’s inability to vote on the matter, this most recent failure to even achieve a quorum appeared to be the last straw, as protesters quickly moved in, smashing up parliament.
Protesters reiterated their demands to see the reform campaign move forward, cautioning they would return to the capital by the end of the week if they have to do so to keep up pressure on the government, with Prime Minister Hayder Abadi calling for the arrest of them all.
Sadr himself has been a loud advocate for reform and for the technocrat cabinet, and while Abadi nominated such a cabinet, he is facing massive opposition from both his own party and the Kurdish parties, leaving open the question of whether a cabinet can ever be agreed upon.
Whatever else happens, parliament is a wreck, Abadi is weaker than ever, and the protesters demonstrate that the appetite for reform is growing much faster among the public than among the political leadership. This seems a recipe for more such protests in the weeks ahead.
8 thoughts on “Iraqi Protesters Leave Green Zone, But Issue Demands”
When we invaded Iraq, more correctly when our Empire expanded into Iraq, was it the intent of our Empire builders that the expansion be temporary by their establishing a stable democracy? Quite the reverse, for the more unstable and anti-democratic the government, all the more would Iraq act in our best interest by supporting our wars of aggression and expansion, all the more would they make the trading of oil for war materials a permanent and forever thing.
So, as government is an intelligence dictatorship with the greatest stability established when the highest achievers are in full command and control, our Empire builders totally destroyed the command structure by disbanding the military and police, discharging from government those most competent and replacing them such that the heads of government were operating at their highest level of incompetence. See the book, “Up The Down Staircase.”
Yes. And when in 2004-05 it began to appear that al-Sadr was reaching out to Sunni in a spirit of Iraqi nationalism, we started hearing about the “El Salvador option.” Soon after, Negroponte and Steele showed up in Iraq and the sectarian killing began.
There had long been strife between Shia and Saddam, who had killed several of al-Sadr’s older relatives, but until then there was mostly peace between the sects at the street level. There were mixed neighborhoods and marriages, but not when the USG was finished. I think al-Sadr is again trying to reach out to Sunnis. I hope he is successful this time. Unfortunately, no effective political coalition can be formed because Sunnis are largely in areas dominated by ISIL. Non-Sadrist Shia are participating in the corruption and don’t want it changed, while Kurds want the central government to remain weak. Iraq is actually in much worse shape than Syria because the government has so thoroughly alienated the Sunni. Looks like most of the Syrian people are united in fighting off the foreign fighters who dominate ISIS there.
Bush jr invasion of Iraq has led to this mess with ISIS. 14 years of failed interventionism is more than enough..time to leave. Yet obama continues this failed Iraq policy thinking the US can fix what we broke. It’s not only Iraq but Afganistan, Syria, LIbya (thanks to Hillary). As long as those in power think all the problems can be fixed by US military interventionism we will continue down the road of defeat. Now Obama has over 4000 US ground forces in Iraq and Syria when he said he would not do so. Our politicians lie. Nothing changes and the only group that gains are the Pentagon Corporate elites. See the book by Mike Lofgren “The Deep State: the fall of the Constitution and the rise of the Shadow government”
Don’t worry about how Obama will handle this. He’s kept the lid on Syria by making a deal with Putin and his admin has succeeded in making a good deal with Iran. (note the word, ‘good’) And his time has expired anyway. Now the question is, how will Clinton handle it? I think we know how that bitch-hawk will!
But more interesting is the question on how Trump will handle it? How will he make America great again in this situation? Have a nice day Americans and don’t let me ruin it for you!
luv from Canada.
Trump is a great unknown…he talks big but more than likely won’t have the foreign policy folks that can deal with his agenda. A Trump WH will be a utter disaster (As will a BIllary WH)…the world best prepare for a major war on the horizon You Canadians are in it deep as well. We are entering a new and very dangerous era. The US Deep State will continue to control the wars…it far to profitable for them to give up control and they are too entrenched in DC…Trump has a very rude awakening ahead of him..he will so learn that the President has no real power to make the changes he wishes. It would be nice but wont happen…You have a nice day…we will ruin yours.
Hillary will restore order for the empire, even though it could cost the lives of another million Iraqi people. But wouldn’t it be interesting to hear how Trump would fix the problem. I would suggest that he wouldn’t dick around with the small stuff and in fact he’s already hinted at that.
The US military unchained with Trump as president behind them all the way is what is so scary.
And just think, when Trump shows his commitment to making America great again on the Syria situation and the Iran stalemate, how Russia and China are going to handle their interests!
Let’s look forward and imagine. Will Putin be equal to Trump? Or will Russia back down?
Ahhhh, now let’s come back to today’s reality and not think about it for now.
luv from Canada.
(way too close to Seattle)
Here is what Trump will do. He has already laid it out in his principles and the foreign policy strategy. Only the mainstream press declared it was not worth reading. I bothered to read.
He will stop any and all support for the armed groups that now roam Iraq and Syria. Telling Saudi Arabia to cut it out may be the first step. Then he will tell Iraq to manage its own affairs, as we are no longer in the business of imposing democracy on them. If the help is needed to destroy the infrastructure of these groups, probably he will approve force, yes, but even then, Trump will not have the bureaucratic venom, and could not care less which other country wants to join to destroy ISIS, Al-Qaeda or the Army of Conquest. For as long as it is coordinated with the Iraqi government and their boots on the ground to regain control over territory. Not our troops, not NATO troops — Iraqi troops, or whoever they trust to help them with boots on the ground.
He has stated that the foundation of the international order are NATION-STATES, not supranational creations. In keeping with this, I do not think he would care to give any support to secessionism of any stripes, and give a message loud and clear that they are not to expect to be coddled like our affluenza brats and expect to be funded and armed. He would give support to legitimate governments and their institutions, and not care about what makes it legitimate, their customs and ways they govern. He will probably leave Afghanistan, as the peace there will be established in less then a year. Regional countries are more then capable of supporting Afghanistan to solve their tribal differences — and in the absence of occupier, that would be natural. Stronger will be listened to, weaker will negotiate — back to the order of things known in the mountainous Afghanistan where central government always played a role of coordinator. Syria will have peace in a few months, should Al-Qaeda, called Al-Nusra Front, is no longer supported by US in Aleppo, and ISIS will not survive isolated in Raqqa. The Kurdish armed secessionism will have to negotiate with the their respective governments, Turskish, Iraqi or Syrian. As all three governments are in need of stability and need money for reconstruction — this will be chance for all three to get a reasonable autonomy within their nation-state. I do not think for a moment that Trump will advocate for changing borders, or in any way weaken the institutions of nation-state. That will just complicate the goal — stabilize the region. Since this is his goal — the last thing he will do is to support all claims on independence.
There are under 200 nation-states in UN, and US can benefit from dealing with them directly, not with their NGO, civic society, opposition parties, secessionist movements, and all and sundry who wanted our money and our political support to undermine their own countries. For all those that have been bitten by neocon bug — that we must help all these get their freedom — try to remember. They are only after our money, and are in few cases really victims of their governments. In fact, if they would just stop poking their governments into eye, attack police of their own country and form military units, and otherwise stirring trouble, they would not be oppressed. Bottom line for Trump, solve your problems, we deal with nation-states.
I do not think Trump has bureaucratic instincts, so he will not be thinking about who is equal or who is weaker in dealing with states such as Russia, Iran or China. He is open and forthright. There are CONCRETE issues on the table, and there will be negotiating. If a deal can be reached on x number of items, great, but it may not be in y number — also great. At times one has to just walk away from the table, as the circumstances do not allow one or the other party to clinch the deal. Walking away is not bad — only bureaucrats get offended by this. Walking away from some unresolved problems does not make countries automatic enemies. The only real issue is the security, and there are ways to insure that stability is achieved. In many cases, like in real life, countries like people change their minds and the circumstances change. They will reach a deal another time. Trump is clearly not a bureaucrat, and thus has no need for bureaucratic venom when another party does not agree over everything. Bureaucratic governments take that as an affront to their control, and if bureaucrats are not in control, they are scared and vindictive.
Trump knows when somebody is trying to take advantage of you, and will push back. Unlike bureaucratic leaders, he will not go after them with tools of force, bribing their adversaries to get them on our side, and such bureaucratic games. He will demand change when a business practice is unfair and takes advantage of US. Nothing personal. But he will not be lazy, and will find arguments, even win-win arguments, to get the opponent to see things his way. He would not have been successful in the shark-filled waters of construction business, unless he understands the need to be respectful to your adversaries, forcefully and with arguments present your needs, and accommodate the other party where possible without sacrifice to your interests. Today’s leaderless governments, capable only of bureaucratic wrangling, cannot often see the forest for the trees, and just dig the hole deeper, with no results in sight. Just as the conflict with Russia and China is not focused on what really matters in the relationship, but is dealing with the irrelevancies.
Take a look at his foreign policy strategy, and will find answers. Nobody is naïve to think that a president can make much of a difference in short amount of time. But he has a good understanding what he can or cannot do as a commander in chief and in charge of foreign policy and military. Has clarity of mind to know that it is the foreign policy — including trade, international obligations and endless ward — that is weakening US economy. He has said in no uncertain terms that he will not need the services of many people who have been part of the disaster that our foreign policy is today. Nobody has any need to challenge Trump, least of all Russia and China, or Iran. He will be given the opportunity to negotiate and renegotiate. In fact, none of these countries had actively sought to undermine US interests, but it was US that continuously presses them on giving up their interests. They will be open to review knowing that he is negotiator, and does not believe in solving all with dictates from Washington.
I have tried to find out Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy strategy, and found none. Just a set of interviews on various foreign policy topics, some years old. I will keep looking — as I am surprised that there is no STRATEGY, no GOALS, no PRINCIPLES, providing the foundation for the Democratic foreign policy. I am now convinced that no president since Cold War has defined the foreign policy strategy more clearly and with substance then Trump. There are no vague references to ideology that often accompany Hillary’s talk. No talk of universal human rights — something that according to Trump does not exist —. no talk of democratizing the world, making it “free”, etc. The lack of ideology is the most amazing part of his foreign policy strategy. I have to admit, I expected little to nothing, and was surprised.
You’ve made up quite a story there on what you imagine Trump would do and wouldn’t do. So for one example, he’s already shot his mouth off and said he would get a better deal with Iran so that kills all your imaginative thinking on that alone.
But well done! You’ve made up out of your head more detail than Trump has provided in all his speeches combined. When Trump says he’ll make America great again, did your interpret that in a way that gave you all those ideas?
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