Parliament failed to vote on a list of Cabinet nominees on Saturday, leading to a public occupation of Parliament itself. Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr rebuked lawmakers for failing to vote on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s list of candidates for a new technocratic Cabinet designed to reduce government corruption. Parliament was not even able to reach quorum, let alone proceed to vote.
This, in turn, appeared to have set off Sadr’s followers who had been protesting outside the Green Zone. In a televised statement from Najaf, Sadr warned that the whole government will be brought down if lawmakers continue to resist corruption reform. Shortly thereafter, demonstrators breached security, first at the entrance to the zone, which houses Iraq’s government center, by bringing down concrete walls. Then, they were able to access Parliament itself. No clashes were reported, though some demonstrators were reported breaking furniture. Most of them appeared to be celebrating and chanting slogans.
A few of Sadr’s followers were also seen giving brief security checks to incoming demonstrators. Others were cleaning up after themselves in the Parliament building. To stop the flow of people into the Zone, security forces fired tear gas and bullets. However, demonstrators also laid out barbed wire to prevent the flow of lawmakers out. Eventually, protesters were seen leaving Parliament, but many of them remained in the Green Zone.
The United States has placed great emphasis on the Abadi administration, as weak as it is. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit on Thursday underscored that trust. However, some analysts see that as a weak point in U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration approach to the Islamic State’s occupation of Iraq. The emphasis on is defeating the Islamic State, but without addressing the fundamental problems of a polarized Iraq–the ones that caused today’s outburst–that victory may only be short-lived.
At least 80 were killed and 67 were wounded:
In Baghdad, a suicide bomber killed 23 people and wounded 44 more in Nahrawan. Earlier reports stating that the targets were the pilgrims were on their way to visit Kadhimiya to commemorate the death of Musa al-Kadhim in the 8th century have been dismissed. A bombing in Doura left two people dead and three wounded. In what may be a separate attack near Doura in Bayaa, one person was killed and four people were wounded in a bomb blast.
Militants attacked Saniya, killing 11 security members and wounding 12 more.
In Makhoul, militants killed three security personnel and wounded two more. Continued fighting was reported.
A chemical weapons attack at the Khazar frontline left one Peshmerga injured, several more personnel suffered from breathing difficulties and nausea.
As part of a campaign to capture Bashir, Peshmerga forces were able to retake Mazraa Dollah. Later, they reclaimed Albu Fargy. One Peshmerga was wounded in Bashir. Shi’ite militias had been unsuccessful in previous attempts to capture the city. It is unclear why Peshmerga forces have taken over.
A body was found in Iskandariya.
In Albu Hayat, security forces killed 25 militants.
Unidentified militants killed seven militants in Falluja.
Airstrikes killed six militants in Juba.