Politics & Economics

Iraqi Prime Minister Proposes More Reforms Ahead of Scheduled Protests

Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi is expected to make a televised speech today in anticipation of protests on Friday.

Iraqi Prime Minister (PM) Adil Abd al-Mahdi has little time left before protests that are allegedly scheduled to take place on Friday, following the end of Arbaeen, during which demonstrations have been halted.

He has already made attempts at appeasing the demands of the protesters. These attempts include a series of reforms involving ministerial amendments and economic changes. In addition, he has responded to the people’s demands to hold those who killed demonstrators this month to account. Around 149 people were killed and 3458 were injured.

The Iraqi Government formed an investigative committee to assess why the protests descended into violence, how so many people were killed, and who was responsible for the killings of demonstrators. The report, which was published with delays, recommended that that heads of police in Baghdad, Dhi Qhar, Diwaniya, Maysan, Babil, Wasit and Najaf be sacked.

Nevertheless, these steps towards the appeasement of protesters are seen to be too little too late. The Iraqi public is now waiting for the PM to reveal a short-term place before the scheduled protests that have already been called for by cleric and leader of the “Sadrist Movement”, Muqtada al-Sadr.

The essence of the expected upcoming protests is not yet clear. Demonstrators have been more or less silent over the Arbaeen period and they have been awaiting the 25th October date. The Iraq Government has already prepared the security forces under its control to exercise restrain and prevent any further violent clashes and especially deaths.

The protests in Iraq are also coinciding with mass demonstrations in Lebanon that have been taking place over the past week. Although the dynamics and context of the Lebanese protests are different in nature, grievances expressed in both Lebanon and Iraq overlap, as people are decrying unemployment, deteriorating economic conditions and government corruption in both countries.