TNT

Tishwash: Iraq: Prime Minister to launch new reform package tomorrow

A source in the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said on Monday that the prime minister will launch a new reform package on Tuesday to meet the demands of the demonstrators.

The source, in remarks to the channel “Russia Today” news, that “Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi prepared a set of projects and decisions to meet the demands of the demonstrators,” noting that “this package is all linked to the demands of the demonstrators, including with regard to jobs and financing projects.”

He added that the prime minister is in contact with the demonstrators through the cell he formed in his office, pointing out that he may meet a group of demonstrators in the coming days.    link

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Harambe:  Reuters: Iraqi PM Abdul Mahdi discusses recent protests in phone call with U.S. Secretary of State 

Pompeo (10/7/19)

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi discussed the protests that have gripped his country this past week in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, his office said in a statement on Monday.

“The Prime Minister reviewed developments in the security situation and the return to normal life after the curfew was lifted, and confirmed that security forces had resumed control and stability had been restored,” the statement said.

The statement said the government has put forward a package of reforms and will continue to provide more to meet the demands of the protesters.

At least eight people were killed in new clashes between Iraqi security forces and anti-government protesters on Sunday night in Baghdad, lifting the death toll to more than 100.

https://reut.rs/2LR37JU

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Cutebwoy:  ‘If we stop now, we will live in poverty forever’: a Baghdad protester promises to persevere

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Mustafa GZ, 29, lives in the Karada Mariam district, close to Baghdad’s Green Zone, with his wife and four-year-old daughter. Though he has a diploma from the Institute of Commerce from Baghdad, he is unemployed.

He has been participating in Iraq’s ongoing nationwide protests, demanding action to tackle high youth unemployment, poverty, poor services, and corruption since they began on October 1.

Late on Tuesday, he bore witness to carnage enacted by security forces in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the focal point of ongoing protests that have since spread across the country. Initially fired at with water cannons and tear gas, demonstrators were then subject to live ammunition rounds, or shot at and left for dead by what he says were paramilitary snipers stationed in buildings on nearby Palestine Street.

Along with other demonstrators across the country, Mustafa has sworn to continue protesting in the face of persistent poverty.

Clsoe to 100 people have been killed and up to 4,000 wounded in clashes with security forces, whose violence escalated as angered young Iraqis seized public squares and blocked major roads. Baghdad has seen some of the biggest loss of life in the six day span of protests.

On the brink of tears, Mustafa explained his reasons for protesting to Rudaw English on Sunday.

“Poverty and a lack of services made our lives dark and meaningless, so we went to protest against this government.”

Mustafa joined the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic) on January 2015 to fight the Islamic State (ISIS).

“I joined Hashd al-Shaabi to save my brothers and sisters in Iraq from the brutality of ISIS terrorists,” Mustafa said. “I participated in the Fallujah and Mosul operations, and proudly say that I stood against ISIS in my country.”

Mustafa left Hashd al-Shaabi in July 2017 due to family commitments, and has since been left dejected by his living conditions.

“I left my family and my daughter to fight ISIS, and now when I ask for my basic rights, they reply with live ammunition, tear gas, and sniper shots,” Mustafa told Rudaw English.

Protests in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square were peaceful, Mustafa explains, until the Liwa Baghdad unit – a brigade answering to direct orders from the Prime Minister’s office – arrived in Tahrir Square and used water cannons and tear gas grenades against the protesters to force an end their demonstrations.

According to Mustafa, some plain-clothes officers from Liwa Baghdad stopped protesters in their tracks, forcing them to delete all pictures and videos of the protests.

Violence snowballed when Saraya al-Khorasani paramilitias arrived in Tahrir Square and began firing living rounds – not into the air as a protest deterrent, but at the protesters themselves.

Saraya al-Khorasani is an Iran-backed militia unit, one of dozens that make up Iraq’s security forces but often act independently or under the radar of official command.

“Saraya al-Khorasani did not stop at just using live ammunition, but they had snipers in buildings targeting the protesters and any security forces trying to get close to the dead protester bodies,” Mustafa said.

Protesters will not stop until the current government resigns, Mustafa said.

“My message to the international community is to ask for help for the Iraqi people to establish a government that can provide a future for all Iraqis, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or belief.”

Though the death toll may continue to climb, Mustafa said conditions are too dire for any outcome less ambitious.

“If we stop now, we will live in poverty forever, but we have decided to keep moving forward, despite all the martyrs killed by security forces in the protests, to achieve our dreams.

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