For about a week now protests have been raging in Kurdish ruled northern Iraq. While corruption has been a problem in the KRG for a long time, the withholding of government workers' salaries was the catalyst for the ongoing protests.
The KRG receives hundreds of millions of dollars monthly from the central government in Baghdad to pay salaries to civil servants. The KRG has neglected paying the civil servants their salaries despite selling oil from the northern fields illegally and keeping all the profit from the border smuggling with Turkey to themselves.
Unlike the protests in southern Iraq and Baghdad in 2019, the protests and the violent crackdown by the authorities in the KRG is hardly being covered by media. Journalists have been intimidated and arrested when covering the protests. Some media offices were shut down as well. On monday one protester was killed. This time the UN, foreign embassies and important actors such as President Barham Salih have either remained silent or condemned the protests.
President Barham Salih was very vocal and voiced his unconditional support for the Tishreen protests even when they were high jacked by foreign sponsored actors and virtually paralysed Baghdad and the south of Iraq. But this time he was quick to condemn the protesters and give support to the violent crackdown by the KRG.
We support peaceful protests, free from foreign meddling in northern Iraq as well as in the south.
First picture: [Fariq Faraj Mahmood/Anadolu Agency]