Updated Nov 30, 2019

Iraqi prime minister resigns after two months of bloody protests

Photo: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi formally submitted his resignation on Saturday after two months of bloody protests killed over 350 Iraqis, AP reports.

Why it matters: Protesters have been calling for Mahdi to resign since the protests first started in early October over corruption, mass unemployment and failing public services. Mahdi's announcement comes after almost 50 people were killed on Thursday and Iraq's top Shia leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for a change in leadership, Al Jazeera reports.

  • Yes, but: Protesters told Al Jazeera that Mahdi's resignation is not enough, and they plan to continue protesting until all of their demands are met.

The big picture: Mahdi's resignation will leave a major hole in the government unless he is quickly replaced by somebody the people trust — even as the protest itself remains a largely leaderless movement.

  • The protesters want the entire political class, that's led the country since 2003, out of office, per AP.

Go deeper: Protests burning in Iraq and Lebanon could singe Iran

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Death toll in Iraqi protests reaches 350 over last two months

Iraqi demonstrators gather as flames start consuming Iran's consulate in the southern city Najaf on Wednesday night. Photo: Hairda Hamdani/AFP/Getty Images

Iraqi security forces killed 27 anti-government protesters in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll from the past two months to 350, AP reports.

Why it matters: The country remains engulfed in its worst protests since 2016, with protesters calling for the government to resign over corruption and lack of government services. And as the violence continues to escalate, protesters are calling on the government to investigate.

Go deeperArrowNov 28, 2019

Unidentified gunmen kill at least 25 protesters in Baghdad

Photo: Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images

Iraqi officials raised the death toll to at least 25 after unidentified gunmen opened fire on protesters in Baghdad on Friday and into Saturday, AP reports.

Why it matters: The attack is the deadliest Baghdad has seen in weeks, occurring shortly after Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned as prime minister, per Al Jazeera. At least 130 others were wounded by gunshots and stabbings in this week's attack, AP notes.

Go deeperArrowDec 7, 2019

Secret cables expose Iran's influence-building in Iraq at U.S. expense

A protester in Baghdad rejects U.S. and Iranian influence. Photo: Ameer Al Mohammedaw/picture alliance via Getty Images

Hundreds of secret Iranian intelligence cables obtained by the Intercept and shared with the New York Times "show how Iran, at nearly every turn, has outmaneuvered the United States in the contest for influence" in Iraq, per the Times.

Why it matters: Widespread protests in Iraq against corruption and poor government services have in some cases been spurred on by another grievance: Iranian influence over Iraqi politics. These documents, which date to 2014-2015, offer glimpses of how that influence was built and exercised — often at the expense of, and due to failures by, the U.S.

Go deeperArrowNov 18, 2019