Protesters Storm Iraqi Green Zone

Discussion in 'The Middle East & North Africa' started by Falcon, May 21, 2016.

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  1. Falcon

    Falcon Lieutenant Colonel Staff Member Social Media Team

    Oct 10, 2015
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    UN Calls for Calm After Violent Mass Break-in of Iraq's Government Buildings
    BAGHDAD— Baghdad's fortified International Zone was calm but tense Saturday following Friday's violence by protesters who defied bullets and tear gas to storm the area.

    The city woke to the early morning sound of helicopters, most of them heading in and out of the highly secured section where Iraq's government buildings are located.

    As demonstrators fled the gunfire and tear gas Friday afternoon, some carrying their injured friends away from the IZ, the anti-government protesters vowed they would return – but with weapons.

    Many are followers of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who, like many of the political leaders in Iraq, has his own armed militia knows as the Peace Brigades.

    Sadr has come out in support of what he describes as the people’s “revolution” against the government.


    Iraqi Shiite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Makes Unannounced Visit to Iran
    MATT BRADLEY in Beirut and GHASSAN ADNAN in Baghdad
    Updated May 2, 2016 9:36 a.m. ET

    Move comes one day after his supporters withdrew from their occupation of Iraq’s highly fortified International Zone.

    Some of Mr. Sadr’s supporters are angry not only with government mismanagement but also with Iran’s influence in Iraq.

    Tehran has funded and equipped Shiite militias to help combat Islamic State, which now controls Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. Yet the Iran-backed militias have become powerful in their own right, on par now with the country’s army.

    Many of Mr. Sadr’s supporters could be heard chanting anti-Iranian slogans during the weekend protests—chants that are likely to offend mainstream Iraqi Shiites who consider Iran critical to the fight against Islamic State.

    “Nobody really wants a war, an inter-Shiite militia war,” said Kirk Sowell, a Jordan-based political risk analyst who publishes Inside Iraqi Politics. “It’s a sign that [Mr. Sadr] needs to talk to these guys.”
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