Iraq and Requisites of National Integrity and Political Solidarity

Monday, May 30, 2016

IRNA Research and News Analysis Group

Thousands of supporters of Iraq’s Shia cleric, Muqtada Sadr, stormed the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad on Friday, May 20, 2016, to voice their protest to policies adopted by the Iraqi government and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Despite strong resistance from security forces, the protesters managed to enter the prime minister’s office.

The breach of Baghdad’s Green Zone by supporters of Muqtada Sadr elicited a sharp reaction from the country’s security forces and led to clashes between the two sides as a result of which a number of protesters were killed or wounded.

Following this incident, the Iraqi army pushed protesters out of the government buildings and regained control of the capital city after which a curfew was imposed on Baghdad. However, a few hours later, Abadi lifted the curfew to restore political calm to the Iraqi capital.

Muqtada Sadr, the leader of the Sadr movement in Iraq, reacted to the aforesaid developments by issuing a statement in which he voiced support for protesters and condemned the Iraqi police for using violence in dealing with protesters.

Last month, supporters of the Sadr movement stormed the Green Zone in protest at the inability of the country’s parliament to form a new cabinet and government’s inability to deal with frequent bomb attacks targeting Shia quarters of the capital. In that incident, Sadr’s supporters took control of the parliament building for a few hours.

Political differences and unrest in Iraq have kept escalating after the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group managed during previous weeks to carry out a number of suicide attacks in Baghdad killing and injuring hundreds of people.

At the same time, the Iraqi army and popular forces have managed during the same weeks to gain considerable ground against Daesh, especially around the city of Fallujah and on the suburbs of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Following rapid advances by the Iraqi army and popular forces, Daesh has been trying to mount psychological pressure on the Iraqi people by increasing the number of suicide attacks both in and around Baghdad to distract the Iraqi forces in their fight against the terrorist group.

At present, Daesh is at its weakest position since it attacked Iraq and has lost many areas it previously controlled in the Arab country. At the same time, pressures have been mounting on Daesh in Syria and the Syrian army and Kurdish forces have been able to get close to the city of Raqqah, which is the self-proclaimed capital city of Daesh in Syria.

The disruption in Daesh’s main lines of defense, especially in Iraq, has caused this group to lose more than two-thirds of territories it previously controlled. To make up for this defeats, Daesh terrorists have put suicide attacks as well as hit and run clashes with government forces on their agenda in order to be able to prevent further advances by the Iraqi army and popular forces toward their positions.

Under these conditions, more than any time before, the Iraqi government needs all political groups to remain calm and maintain their unity and cooperate with the government and security forces.

Although according to the Iraqi constitution, all political groups have the right to protest and even peaceful demonstrations, it must be noted that pursuit of their demands must be done through different means under the existing conditions of political crisis when the government needs peace in the country.

Therefore, recent developments in Iraq and clashes between supporters of the Sadr movement and the country’s security forces should be viewed from this standpoint. Within this framework, although the Sadr movement has the right to follow up on its demands from the central government, and even within framework of the Iraqi constitution it has the right to peaceful protests, such protests should not disrupt order and security in the capital city and interfere with executive and security affairs.

Under the current circumstances, maintaining political calm and pursuing demands through peaceful and legal means are more necessary than any time before. Attacking government buildings will have no other result, but destruction of public property and providing Daesh with an opportunity to bolster its positions. However, the current juncture is the best opportunity to fight and eradicate Daesh, because the Iraqi army and popular forces are very close to achieving this goal.

Key WordsIraq, National Integrity, Political Solidarity, Muqtada Sadr, Green Zone, Haider al-Abadi, Protesters, Daesh, Iraqi Army, Popular Forces, Syria, Political Crisis, Political Calm 

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA)
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

Photo Credit: REUTERS

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