The protesters have swept Basra and southern Iraq demanding better services and infrastructure as Iraq’s government seeks to build a coalition government three months after elections. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has promised to increase the budget for the south. However tensions between Iranian-backed parties and militias and the locals have boiled over.
Muqtada al-Sadr and senior cleric Ali Sistani have supported the protests. Sistani said after Friday prayers that the “failure of iraqi politicians over the past years is what caused the anger of of people in Basra so this time a government must be formed by new standards based on technocrats.”
Protesters attacked the headquarters of Badr and other Iranian-linked militias and parties on Thursday and Friday, according to social media accounts in Basra. On Friday they burned a part of the Iranian consulate and took videos celebrating while demanding Iran leave Iraq.
They were referring to the feeling the Iran’s influence is extending too deeply into Iraq’s politics.