Iraq Protests Escalate, Closing Key Port in Basra

Karbala protesters attack Iranian consulate

Iraq’s protests hit record size on Friday, and showed no sign of winding down on the weekend, with thousands setting up around Umm Qasr port, in the city of Basra, effectively closing the country’s primary seaport.

That’s just one of a series of moves around the country as protesters closed roads, offices, and schools. Protesters hung banners saying sites, including the Diwaniyah Provincial Council, were “closed by order of the people.”

Karbala saw its large protests turn violent, as demonstrators marched on and attacked the Iranian consulate in the key Shi’ite holy city. They brought down the Iranian flag and replaced it with an Iraqi one.

Media reports that Iran’s government had been trying to save the unpopular Iraqi PM have fueled a lot of anger among protesters, who see this as just the latest example of long-standing government reliance on foreign leadership.

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.