Qatar has issued instructions and urged its citizens not to travel to Iraq amidst riots and protests. Qatar’s foreign ministry issued instructions after 27 people were reportedly killed in riots in Iraq. The ministry also urged those already there to leave immediately in view of ongoing unrest.
Qatar's foreign ministry advises its citizens not to travel to Iraq and urges those already there to leave immediately in view of ongoing unrest.https://t.co/5I2XVNV0By
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) October 4, 2019
On Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi said that the security measures imposed in the wake of this week’s violence, including the temporary curfew, are “difficult choices” but are needed like “bitter medicine” that has to be swallowed.
According to international media reports, several young men have been targeted by government forces resulting in deaths.
In addition to those killed, more than 1,000 protesters have been wounded and scores arrested, according to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights.
What is going on in Iraq?
Iraq is in the midst of a major crisis sparked by what appears to be a spontaneous outburst of anger over unemployment, poor services, and corruption. Days of anti-government protests have convulsed the capital, Baghdad, and several other cities.
Curfews have been declared in Baghdad and the southern cities of Nasiriya, Amara, Najaf, and Hilla. Authorities have also imposed a near-total internet blackout in a bid to make it harder for protesters to mobilize.
Iraq has the world’s fourth-largest reserves of oil, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but nearly three-fifths of its 40 million people live on less than $6 a day, World Bank figures show.
It is worth noting that unemployment, particularly among young people, is a major issue, while millions lack access to adequate healthcare, schooling, water or power supplies. Unfortunately, contemporary Iraq has become a battlefield due to bad-governance and ill-thought policies of the elite. As a matter of fact, much of the country’s infrastructure remains in tatters after decades of near-ongoing conflict, including a United States-led invasion, and United Nations sanctions.
The unrest in Iraq is escalating. Protests continue despite a curfew, an internet blackout & security forces using live ammunition. Reports of shooting at Baghdad airport now. The toll has risen to 31 dead in 3 days, according to AP.
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) October 3, 2019
Moreover, as per international media reports, an emergency parliamentary session has been called for Saturday to address the crisis. But Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, whose political coalition won the most seats in last year’s elections, has urged legislators to boycott sessions until the government presents concrete measures addressing the protesters’ demands.
The country’s top Shia spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has urged security forces not to use violence and called on the government to heed the demonstrators’ demands “before it is too late”.