A delegation met with Iraq’s sitting Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi to discuss the protests and future of Najaf this week. Prime Minister Abadi expressed support for peaceful protesting and condemned anyone who was using the public outcry to commit vandalism, further injuring the country. Abadi’s office released a statement saying,

The head of the council of ministers Dr. Haider al-Abadi expressed support for peaceful protests and the expression of views and listening to demands so that the performance of the state is healthy and in service of citizens. His excellency pointed out to the importance of just demands.”

Along with discussing the city’s infrastructure issues that many of the protesters were complaining about, Prime Minister Abadi went on to ascertain that some politically powerful individuals desired the city of Najaf’s economic damage. Before the meeting, Abadi had met with the deputy head of the Hashd al-Shaabi, Abou Mahdi al-Mouhandis, at the PMU’s headquarters building. Prime Minister Abadi stated that,

The head of the council of ministers and commander of armed forces Haider al-Abadi reiterated that we didn’t fight the Daesh [ISIS] terrorist gangs that occupied our cities, threatened all of Iraq, for anything but to keep our people away from harm’s way and to provide a safe, stable life and proper services to all Iraqis.”

The violent protests in Iraq are at an all-time high with many of its citizens flooding the streets, demanding clean drinking water, a stable electrical grid, and more employment opportunities. Iraqi Security Forces have clashed with protesters on multiple occasions; several people have been killed. Basra protesters have gone after some political party affiliated headquarters buildings, including the Hashd al-Shaabi’s. Muqtada al-Sadr‘s Victory Coalition has not be hit though, leading some to speculate that Sadr has played a role in the protest-related attacks.

The head of the State of Law coalition, Sa’d al-Matlabi told local media that, “There are domestic parties trying to deviate the protests from their real goals, and part of the Friday protests in the southern provinces were settling political accounts.” Matlabi also made allegations that because some parties buildings were burned down while others had been spared, demonstrated that some parties had played a part in the destruction. Head of the Hashd al-Shaabi affiliated Fatih coalition, Falih al-Khazali, addressed the media saying that,“Some enemies of the political process in Iraq following the change of regime in 2003, up to this day, try to take advantage of gatherings to cause chaos.”

Featured image courtesy of I.hadi.iq [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons