Arab “Day of Rage” spreads to Iraq, nineteen dead

posted at 2:55 pm on February 25, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Not great news for those who had hoped that the institutions of democracy would allow for a less destructive ways of dealing with popular unrest in the Middle East. It’s also not great news for those who had hoped that American training of Iraqi security forces would mean better tactics and strategy. Iraqi forces opened fire on a crowd in Baghdad that refused to disperse on the “Day of Rage” sweeping the region, leaving 19 dead and putting the fragile political coalition that finally formed a government at risk of falling apart:

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MSNBC’s report says six dead, but the latest report from the Washington Post puts the total at 19:

At least 19 people were killed in Iraq on Friday as tens of thousands defied an official curfew to join a nationwide “Day of Rage,” echoing protests that have roiled the Middle East and North Africa since January.

Despite pleas by the government and Shiite religious leaders for Iraqis to stay home, demonstrators gathered by the hundreds and thousands from Basra in the south to Mosul and Kirkuk in the north. …

Security forces used tear gas, water cannons, sound bombs and at times live bullets to disperse the crowds. Fatalities were reported in Mosul, Fallujah, Tikrit and a town near Kirkuk, when security forces opened fire on demonstrators who were surrounding–or in some cases storming–government buildings. There were also clashes in Ramadi.

In the southern province of Basra, about 10,000 demonstrators forced the resignation of the provincial governor. In Fallujah, protesters forced the resignation of the entire city council.

The Iraqi government had declared an “indefinite” curfew, apparently in an attempt to head off the protests. The decision backfired badly. Instead of allowing Iraqis to peacefully demonstrate, it provoked a deeper reaction and immediately put security forces into conflict with demonstrators.

The mounting fatalities will put the US in a tough position. The US appears ready to finally demand that Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi step down, in no small part because his security forces (especially mercenaries) have been firing on demonstrators for the last several days, and it produced a civil war. Obama had also demanded the “transition” of nominal US ally Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt. In Iraq, however, the US has tens of thousands of troops stationed outside of the cities and has tried mightily to shepherd the nascent Iraqi democracy into maturity. Obama will almost certainly get challenged to respond to the actions of the Nouri al-Maliki government, and Obama will have several choices in whether and how to do so — all of them bad.


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Comment pages: 1 2

You mean they would actually have to confront the Kurds and not get someone else to do it for them?

You mean that all the other ethnic and religious groups would have to demonstrate competence and work together?

Can you cite the last time that happened?

ajacksonian on February 25, 2011 at 6:14 PM

No, no, no. You misunderstand. No cooperation is needed.

1. Kurds of northern Iraq pull out and declare the Republic of Kurdistan and sends forces to take possession of oil reserves close by that have been a source of conflict up until now.

2. The rest of Iraq fights back to put down the Kurds and take back the oil to keep it in Iraqi hands. Meanwhile, the Sunnis of Iraq are getting uppity. So long Anbar Awakening.

3. While all this is going on, the Turks are having a fit over an independent Kurdistan since their southeastern frontier is already full of Kurdish rebels. They’ve threatened invasion before if Kurdistan gains independence.

4. Iran has its own Kurdish population to deal with as well.

Would /all/ these things play out in a scenario where Kurdistan pulls out of a fracturing Iraq? Who can say? But given how Mr. Obama has handled things so far, I have faith that he’d find a way to bundle the situation but good.

So yeah, Greater Kurdistan is the /last/ thing about which we need to consider making bluffs.

Vatican Watcher on February 25, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Ann Coulter was right (Kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity).
BowHuntingTexas on February 25, 2011 at 5:03 PM

I’m still waiting for someone to point out the flaw in her plan. In the meantime, of course, it couldn’t possibly hurt anything to follow that policy until someone comes up with a better one.

Can you imagine what America would be like if the civilized world were STILL trying to “negotiate” with the Mesoamerican stone age Death Cult tribes?

So far, the civilized world has spent more than twice as long trying to figure out a way to peacefully coexist with Islam. It is WAY past time to admit failure.

logis on February 25, 2011 at 9:39 PM

arab days of rage. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz……..

rightwingyahooo on February 26, 2011 at 7:52 AM

Destroy their armies to the last man on the field. That will cool their jets……

rightwingyahooo on February 26, 2011 at 7:53 AM

Comment pages: 1 2