Demonstrations in Iraq entered their second week. The protests have been concentrated in southern oil-producing regions around Basra. On Sunday, three Iraqi protesters were reportedly killed and another 120 were injured in clashes with security forces in the capital of the southern province of Muthanna. The nature of the simultaneous demonstrations and riots in the Shiite regions indicates they’re being organized by someone. Given that Iran is looking for leverage as Western sanctions pressure sets back in, along with the participation of Iran-backed militias in the protests, it’s natural to cast suspicion on Tehran. But it may not be that simple, since Iran may have considerable financial stakes in oil production in this region, and protesters have also targeted Iran-backed parties in Iraq. This raises the question of whether someone else – say, Israel or the U.S. – has an interest in destabilizing the region. We’re watching for signs that the unrest spreads beyond Shiite area
Daily Memo: Protests in Iraq, a Presidential Meeting in Helsinki
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