Iran's Turmoil Inside Iraq
With nearly 100 dead, 4000 injured, and 540 arrests, the once jewel , Baghdad, has become a home to riots and chaos. This is just after four days of mayhem, so there is more to come.
Much of the rioting and looting has occurred in the Green Zone area, the once US safe zone. The discontented younger generation, those who were not around when Saddam was in control, are sick of the corruption of government, which forced the dismissal of 1,000 employees at state institutions who have been convicted of wasting or embezzling public money. With unemployment around 25%, a breakdown of even basic services like water and electricity, the younger generation have been stirred into a frenzy who are sick of the Sunni-Shiite divides. But ironically, much of the chaos and riots have taken in Sunni areas, those pro-Iranian. This leads many to suspect that Iran is causing the unrest and turmoil to get new elections in order to obtain a majority.
The newly elected government, which is controlled by the Shiites, in the past year, has utterly failed those that elected them in all ways. The government tried to reconvene but was unable to because the Sunni minority refused to do so. This has in effect frozen the government unless the new re-election demands are done.
Although Iraq does receive substantial income form oil exports, much of it does not filter down to benefit the average person. To worsen the whole situation, snipers were causing havoc from rooftops. Their affiliation remains unknown, but many police have been heard speaking Farsi, the Iranian language during the mayhem. These snipers could be part of Iran's subversive methods to stoke the chaos or they could have been Iraqi police.
In any case, Iran would have a lot to gain in any re-election of their government. Were this to happen and the Shia pro-Iran factions have a majority, Iraq would be even more part of Iran's sphere of influence than it is already. This would be a major win for Iran. Ironically, many of the protesters are anti-Iran in nature and more nationalistic.
For many, it is just about the basic services and jobs people need that are lacking and venting against a very corrupt government they do not trust. Thousands of US troops remain inside Iraq but have so far not been targeted, nor has the pro-Iranian militias. As one protester screamed, "We have nothing to lose".