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Hopeless in Iraq

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09.10.2019

By Gwynne Dyer

Four months of mass protests in the streets of Hong Kong, and thousands of injuries and arrests ― but only two gunshot wounds, both very recent and neither life-threatening.

Five days of mass protests in the streets of Baghdad, and there are already a hundred dead, most by gunfire from the various "security" forces that work for the government. It's all the more deplorable because Iraq, unlike the vast majority of Arab states, is not actually ruled by military or royal tyrants.

There are free elections in Iraq, and a democratically elected civilian government. The lengthy military occupation after the U.S. invasion in 2003 spawned brutal terrorist movements like Islamic State, but it did give Iraq a full suite of democratic institutions. The trouble is that it also empowered one of the most corrupt political systems in the world.

That's what the young Iraqi protesters are out in the streets about: not democracy, but corruption. They are very young ― most are under 20 ― and there are simply no jobs for them. They are condemned to pass their frustrated lives in idleness and poverty because they lack the political contacts that might lead to employment.

There have been intermittent anti-corruption demonstrations in Baghdad and Iraq's big southern........

© The Korea Times