Over 100 Killed, Over 6,000 Wounded in Week of Iraq Protests

US diplomat sees PM's resignation as 'inevitable'

A series of promises on Friday by Iraqi PM Adil Abdul Mahdi were meant to derail the ongoing protests across the country,but failed to do so. The death toll has continued to rise precipitously through the weekend.

By Sunday, the Iraqi Interior Ministry was reporting 104 people killed, about eight of them security forces, and 6,107 wounded, with about 1,200 security forces wounded. There have been mass arrests, despite Abdul Mahdi’s pledge to release the protesters.

The Interior Ministry is trying to weasel out of responsibility for the many, many people they killed, improbably, by claiming that at no time during the protest did any government force open fire on protesters. This claim contradicts the many protesters shot with live ammunition, and a solid week of documented “gun battles” with rebels.

The government clearly doesn’t have the answer to placating this unrest, or is unwilling to give in to demands. Both powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and former PM Hayder Abadi are now demanding Abdul Mahdi resign and call for early elections.

Though Abdul Mahdi seems to be resisting that call, the sheer political weight against him, and the popular opinion, have some US officials, including current Ambassador Matthew Tueller, saying they believe Abdul Mahdi’s resignation “appears inevitable” and could happen within the next day. US military leaders continue to express doubt Abdul Mahdi will willingly give up on power.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.