No time like the present for democratic reform in Iraq (Clingendael)

Fall in Iraq brought along with it the death of more than 300 protesters and security personnel in what has become the country’s largest wave of protests since 2003. The protests started off as modest and focused on improving services and providing job opportunities. But with the rise of violence, and the unexpected, government crackdown through the use of live ammunition against civilians, the breadth of protesters’ demands only expanded, and so did the use of violence against them creating a situation which has resulted in a political impasse.  Many recommendations were put forward to contain the widespread anger, but the government – paralyzed by significant party interests and foreign agendas – has not been able to meet protesters’ demands. The protesters also seem to lack an organized leadership, despite their ability to unite under one goal: good governance and the rule of law. This piece attempts to look at Iraq within its regional context and to provide an overview of the past sixteen years to argue why the need for democratic reform is imminent.

Al-Hamzeh Al-Shadeedi

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