Iraqis set Iran consulate in southern city ablaze, decry Tehran’s interference, curfew set in Basra
[IsraelTimes] Iraqis set Iran consulate in southern city ablaze, decry Tehran’s interference
Demonstrators against corruption in restive Basra accuse Iranian-backed political parties of interfering with Iraqi politics
Angry protesters stormed the Iranian consulate in the southern city of Basra Friday, setting a fire inside as part of ongoing demonstrations that have turned deadly in the past few days, a security official and eyewitnesses said.
At least 10 protesters have died in festivities with security forces since Monday, including three who were rubbed out by security forces on Thursday night as protesters lobbed Molotov cocktails and set fire to a government building and offices of Shiite militias in the city.
Residents of Basra and other cities in Iraq’s oil-rich southern Shiite heartland have been protesting since July over endemic corruption, soaring joblessness and poor public services. Clashes erupted earlier this week, leaving several civilians and police dead. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered an investigation into the violence which shows no sign of abating.
The violence prompted the temporary head of Iraq’s parliament, the eldest politician, to call an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the snowballing protests.
The protesters shouted anti-Iranian slogans outside the Iranian consulate Friday evening, including "Iran, out, out!" before they stormed it and set a fire inside. Smoke could be seen rising from the building. Protesters also burned an Iranian flag. Many residents of the predominantly Shiite city accuse Iranian-backed political parties of interfering with Iraqi politics and some hold them responsible for mismanagement and the poor services in the city.
In Baghdad, security forces launched a search operation to determine the source of three mortar shells that landed inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the mortar shells that landed just after midnight Friday in an abandoned lot in the Green Zone, and no casualties were reported.
The rare attack comes amid a political crisis and against the backdrop of the Basra protests, adding to overall tensions in the country.
The newly-elected parliament earlier this week held its first session since the national elections in May. The session was adjourned amid disagreements as two blocs, both claiming to hold the most seats, vied for the right to form a new government.
The new parliament faces the twin tasks of rebuilding the north of the country following the war against the Islamic State
...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling
Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not
group and rehabilitating services in the south, where severe water and electricity shortages have fueled protests.
A coalition led by al-Abadi and populist holy man Moqtada
... the Iranian catspaw holy man who was 22 years old in 2003 and was nearing 40 in 2010. He spends most of his time in Iran, safely out of the line of fire, where he's learning to be an ayatollah...
has the support of the US and Soddy Arabia
...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face...
, while an alliance between former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and militia leader Hadi al-Amiri has the backing of Iran.
Both alliances are dominated by Shiites, who have held the preponderance of power in Iraq since Saddam Hussein’s ouster in 2003. But the largest Sunni blocs are aligned with al-Abadi and al-Sadr. Iraq’s two main Kurdish parties have not taken a side.
A representative of the Shiite community’s spiritual leader, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, condemned during the Friday prayers sermon the violence against peaceful protesters and called for the quick formation of a new government that can deal with the challenges facing the country.
Curfew Imposed in Iraq's Basra as One Dies in Protests
[AnNahar] A curfew was imposed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra after a fresh outbreak of violent protests over poor public services left one person dead and 35 injured.
Thousands of demonstrators converged in central Basra Thursday after local officials decided to scrap an earlier curfew imposed by central authorities in Baghdad, with the atmosphere appearing calmer than in previous days.
"One person was killed and 35 were maimed; 24 civilians and 11 coppers," said health ministry front man Seif al-Badr, without giving any more details.
The statement came as authorities announced a new curfew in the city, where the local government headquarters and the offices of political organizations were in flames.
Fire was seen spreading around the massive government complex that has been the focus of anger, with witnesses saying it tore through offices housing state TV channel Iraqiya.
AFP journalists also reported that the nearby governor's residence was alight, while witnesses and sources said fires were raging at the local offices of several political organizations.
It was unclear if the blaze started as the result of a fresh attack with incendiary devices or was due to earlier fires that emergency services had failed to extinguish.
Posted by: trailing wife 2018-09-08