UN, Germany concerned over protests and tensions in Baghdad

“Voices of reason and wisdom are critical to prevent further violence.”
Iraqi protesters inside the Iraqi Parliament, Saturday, July 30, 2022 (Photo: AFP)
Iraqi protesters inside the Iraqi Parliament, Saturday, July 30, 2022 (Photo: AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) –The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the German embassy in Baghdad on Saturday expressed concerns over increasing tensions in Baghdad.

A protest by the Sadrist movement began on Saturday morning in Baghdad in protest of the Iran-backed Coordinating Framework candidate for Prime Minister, Mohammad Shiya al-Sudani. It's the second protest this week against al-Sudani.

Parliament members of the Muqtada al-Sadr’s political movement pulled out of the parliament in June, after Sadr and his allies failed to form a new Iraqi government following Iraq’s October parliament elections.

This Saturday, for the second time his supporters occupied the Iraqi parliament and stormed the Supreme Judicial Council in the Green Zone.

The protestors called for overthrowing the parliament and putting former Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki on trial.

According to the Iraq's Ministry of Health, a total of 125 were injured in today's protests, including 100 civilians and 25 security forces.

“The ongoing escalation is deeply concerning. Voices of reason and wisdom are critical to prevent further violence. All actors are encouraged to de-escalate in the interest of all Iraqis,” UNAMI tweeted.

“Germany strongly endorses UNAMI‘s statement regarding today’s events in Baghdad,” the German embassy in Baghdad said in a tweet.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on Saturday in a speech called for calm and urged Iraqi political parties to negotiate and end the political deadlock.

Read More: Iraqi PM calls for calm after protestors again occupy Iraqi parliament

Saman Omar, University Lecturer and Researcher on Security Studies, told Kurdistan 24 that the “UN assistance mission for Iraq since 2003 has failed to build a strong and sovereign Iraq, nor a good government, and improve human rights.”

“Iraqi actors will not consider their call, despite the UN's mission, the Iraq government continues to be the example of a corrupt and broken system.”

Saleh Muhammad al-Iraqi, a senior supporter of the Sadr movement, known as the “Minister of Sadr” in a tweet called on the UN to “support the people to end their suffering from corruption.”

He also said he hoped the UN presence in Iraq would not play a negative role.

Yerevan Saeed, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington DC told Kurdistan 24 that Sadr is trying to make sure that “the new government would not be formed without him.”

He warned that the conflict between the Sadr movement and the Coordination Framework could escalate, as both sides rally their supporters for their cause on the streets.

“However, the problem is Sadr has not defined his political goals with the exception of spoiling the political process,” he said.

“This could have severe negative repercussions to the stability of the country especially when his supporters disregard the law and the security forces to storm the government institutions with impunity,” he concluded.