REVIEW: The Struggle for Iraq’s Future
By Rozina Ali, July 6, 2014
CAIRO VIEW OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS: In February 2011, when Iraqis joined the Arab Spring with countrywide protests demanding reform and better services, the government responded quickly. Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki announced plans to create jobs, end power cuts, and implement a food subsidies program. When these moves failed to quell the protests, however, he authorized drastic measures. Though Iraqi demonstrators numbered only in the thousands, compared to the huge protests elsewhere in the Middle East, security forces quickly unleashed violence and killed nearly thirty people and imprisoned more than three hundred. The government then created a law requiring advance permission for demonstrations. The Iraqi protests and crackdown received scant media attention and seemingly little notice by the Obama administration. It was as if Iraq had a tragic fate that democracy protests could never change: Saddam Hussein’s thuggery, a botched American invasion, sectarian conflict, official corruption, terrorism.