Nov 4, 2019

Iraq unrest: Protesters attack Iranian consulate in Karbala

An Iraqi protester holds a placard reading "We are an invincible nation" during ongoing anti-government demonstrations, Karbala, Nov. 1. Photo: Mohammed Sawaf/AFP via Getty Images

Protesters in Iraq climbed the concrete barriers outside the Iranian Consulate and tore down Iran's flag in the Shiite holy city of Karbala in central Iraq Sunday night amid ongoing demonstrations, AP reports.

Details: Security forces dispersed the protesters, who numbered in the dozens, by firing into the air, per Al Jazeera, which reports demonstrators "threw stones and burned tires around the building." President Trump retweeted without comment videos from the attack, including one from Saudi news outlet Arab News:

Why it matters: Iraq had been in a state of relative stability for two years before last month when the protests erupted. More than 200 people have died in the unrest. Per AP, protesters want to see major changes in the political system that was established after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the country.

The big picture: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi agreed last week to step down, a key demand from protesters, who have called for a broad overhaul of the government amid a backdrop of unemployment, violence and corruption throughout the country.

What they're saying: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Friday, "The Government of Iraq should listen to the legitimate demands made by the Iraqi people who have taken to the streets to have their voices heard. The United States is closely monitoring the situation and from the beginning we have called on all sides to reject violence."

Go deeper: Protests around the world aimed squarely at existing governments

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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

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.

Go deeperArrowNov 11, 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