Nov 11, 2019

U.S. joins UN urging Iraq to call early elections

A demonstrator, wounded after security forces' intervention with a gas bomb, during the ongoing anti-government demonstrations Baghdad on Sunday. Photo: Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Trump administration joined the UN Sunday in urging Iraq’s government to hold early elections and "halt the violence against protesters" after scores were killed by security forces in weeks of unrest.

Why it matters: Demonstrations over the past two months have rocked Iraq, which had been in a state of relative stability for two years. At least 320 protesters have died in the unrest, with four more protesters killed and "some 130 wounded in clashes" in the southern city of Nasiryah over the weekend, AP reports.

The United States joins the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq in calling on the Iraqi government to ... fulfill President Salih’s promise to pass electoral reform and hold early elections."
— White House statement emailed to news outlets

The big picture: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi agreed to resign late last month.

  • The United Nations’ mission for Iraq proposed Sunday a roadmap to address the turmoil.

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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

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.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 30, 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