What Happened: Masked gunmen have attacked protesters in the Iraqi city of Basra, killing at least five and wounding more than 100, AP reported Nov. 8. Other cities across the country, including Baghdad, have also been experiencing renewed demonstrations with new outbreaks of violence.
Why It Matters: The attack bears a resemblance to a similar shooting in Karbala last week, when unidentified gunmen opened fire on protesters, killing dozens. Although unconfirmed, the strategy points toward pro-Iranian militias cracking down on protests to discourage people from joining the demonstrations.
Background: Iran has been critical of the ongoing anti-government protests in Iraq, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei alleging that foreign powers are backing the demonstrations. Tehran has also reportedly intervened to ensure the Fatah parliamentary bloc of Shiite militia leader Hadi al-Amiri continues to support the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.
- Why Baghdad's Attempts to Mollify Protests Are Falling on Deaf Ears (Oct. 25, 2019)
- Iraq: Metastasizing Protests Threaten to Upend the Government (Oct. 4, 2019)
- Building Pressures Risk Tearing Iraq's Fragile Government Apart (Sept. 25, 2019)