After The Protests: Iraq’s Democratic Process is More Secure Than Ever?
As flawed as it is, as damaged by corruption, cronyism and security problems as it is, some locals believe Iraq’s ongoing political process has been boosted by recent demonstrations.
On the street, the protestors who took part in the last three weeks’ worth of demonstrations, seem indifferent to the kind of political system in which they are living. They are far more interested in what their politicians will – finally – be able to do for them. And more specifically they want to know whether the officials and businesspeople who stole what they believe is theirs can be brought to justice. They want to see an end to corruption.
They also want to see if the reforms that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi promised them last week, during the height of the protests, will be implemented.
“We want to see the prosecution of corrupt people. We want to see better state services. We want an impartial judiciary,” insists Ahmed Abdul-Karim , one of the demonstrators on Baghdad’s streets, who was willing to speak to a journalist.
At one stage, the protestors had been threatening to storm Baghdad’s famous Green Zone – this is the extremely well guarded area that houses Iraq’s politicians as well as foreign embassies – to get what they wanted.
But Abdul-Karim thinks this would have been very difficult to do. The security forces who were guarding the demonstrations were relaxed and even expressed support for the protestors but Abdul-Karim doesn’t know what they would have done if there had been any attack on the Green Zone.
From various different corners, there were calls for the government to be removed, for Parliament to be dismissed, the Constitution to be changed and a new presidential system to be brought in. But now, after Prime Minister al-Abadi announced his intended reforms, the demonstrators seem to have mellowed.