Last Friday saw the deadly confrontations between protesters, who were closing in on government headquarters in central Baghdad, and military/police forces, who fired live bullets and tear gas to stop them from entering the zone.
Amnesty International has called the deadly force used by the Iraqi government as “nothing short but a bloodbath.”
Since the massive protest ignited last month over government corruption, rampant unemployment, and lack of basic healthcare, some 330 Iraqis have been killed and over 15,000 wounded.
Poverty is rampant despite Iraq being the second largest oil producer in the region.
Some of the most extreme poverty exists in the southern Basra region of the country, which is the site of refineries owned by Exxon, British Petroleum (BP), and other outside oil interests.
In response to the latest round of demonstrations and ensuing government violence to quell them, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq’s most influential Shia Muslim cleric, threw his support behind the protesters:
“If those in power think that they can evade the benefits of real reform by stalling and procrastination, they are delusional,” he said in his weekly sermon, delivered by a representative in the holy city of Karbala.
“What comes after these protests will not be the same as before, and they should be aware of that,” he predicted.
TREND FORECAST: Tracking trends is the understanding of where we are and how we got here to see where we are going.
Absent in all the media coverage is “how we got here.”
Not one mention of the United States’ 2003 illegal, immoral, deadly war based on lies that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which bombed the nation into ruin and killed one million Iraqis.
With Brent Crude at around $60 per barrel, and oil supply continuing to outstrip demand as global economies continue to slow down, the poverty and unemployment rates will increase and violence in Iraq will escalate.
TREND FORECAST: Beyond Iraq, as with other demonstrations across the globe, as living conditions deteriorate and violence increases, more citizens will risk their lives in hopes to find safe havens, job opportunities, and better living conditions in foreign nations, thus intensifying our “Human Wave” Top Trend of 2019.