The Iraqi government, installed by the United States after the 2003 invasion and occupation, killed 23 protesters and injured hundreds during ‘Day of Rage’ demonstrations held throughout the country on February 25th. Turn out for the protests were high despite consistent efforts by the Iraqi state to suppress dissent.
Journalists were prevented from covering the protests in some place. Elsewhere they were arrested and beaten by riot police. Hadi al Mahdi, a popular radio host long critical of the Iraqi government, was blind folded and kidnapped from a restaurant before being beaten, interrogated and detained by state forces.
The Iraqi state imposed other restrictions aimed at curbing protests. The use of cars and bicycles was temporarily banned in many cities. Large concrete barriers blocked roads and thoroughfares. Bridges were closed to all traffic, extra check points erected and barbed wire lined many streets. In Baghdad, protesters were prevented from reaching the ‘Green Zone,’ the area from which Western agents and their Iraqi lackeys run the country’s affairs.
In the run up to the demonstrations, Iraqi state media launched a campaign calling protesters Saddam-loyalists and terrorists. Yet, it was Iraqi state forces that intimidated intellectuals and journalists and used water cannons and bullets against protesters in cities throughout Iraq. So far, protests have mainly challenged corruption and lack of electricity, not called for the overthrow of the government itself.
Rather than concerning itself with ‘democracy,’ the US is sponsoring a dictatorship of compradors in Iraq. Today, around 46,000 US occupation troops remain, training and supporting the fledgling bureaucrats for empire. Around 15,000 US troops are scheduled to remain in Iraq to ‘protect US interests in the country’ past 2011.
The struggle of the Iraqi masses against the corrupt, US-backed Iraqi regime is an internationalist one. It is a struggle for their own liberation, most efficiently carried out as part of the general social revolution in Iraq and the global revolution against imperialism. Only through challenging and overturning imperialist power in their backyards and internationally- including but not limited to overthrowing the Iraqi comprador state- can the struggle of the Iraqi and global masses finally succeed.
“23 killed in Iraq’s ‘Day of Rage’ protests.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/25/AR2011022502781.html
“New Iraq protests smaller, less violent amid tight security.” http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/05/world/la-fg-iraq-protests-20110305
“‘Day Of Rage’ Protests Continue In Iraq.” http://www.npr.org/2011/02/28/134123114/Iraq-Protesters
“Iraq War Facts, Results & Statistics at april 26, 2011.” http://usliberals.about.com/od/homelandsecurit1/a/IraqNumbers.htm
“Over 15,000 U.S. servicemen to remain in Iraq beyond 2011 deadline.” http://babulilmlibrary.com/news/over-15000-u-s-servicemen-to-remain-in-iraq-beyond-2011-deadline