by Scott Creighton
Yesterday I wrote that the flash “protest” in Baghdad looked like a color revolution. I was partially correct. It was staged, but not for the purpose of sending a message to Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi but rather, now on further inspection, it looks like it was staged by al-Abadi himself. Well, Abadi and the usual suspects here in the States who do anything and everything in support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Staged chocolate photo-ops aside, this “protest” by the Shiites who are currently serving Western interests as roving death squads in Iraq, is not about fairness or equality or making the lives of average Iraqis any better than they are right now. Quite the contrary: they are there to push for the implementation of various IMF austerity measure structural reforms which the masters of the universe are demanding from an already impoverished nation.
“IMF Leaders want to see more economic and social reforms, such as reducing subsidies to energy and terminating the government-run food ration program. These are difficult to implement not only because they are politically unsustainable, but also socially unsupportable in a state where poverty rate is at 30 percent high.
Prime Minister Abadi supports these measures and is trying his best to install a few more pro-austerity technocrats in key ministry positions but the members of parliament are dragging their feet on the appointments.
Negotiations for the new 15 billion dollar IMF loan began back in November of 2015 and it is supposed to be handed out by June of this year. There was even a meeting in Washington D.C. earlier this month where IMF officials and Iraqis got together and worked out what needed to happen before the masters of the universe would shell out the money they got from US taxpayers.
Along comes Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, a man who was a large part of the bloody rampage of the Salvador Option back in 2006 and 2007, saying he wants the reforms passed by parliament, most notably, the speedy approval of the pro-IMF technocrats.
“Supporters of Mr Sadr want MPs to push through plans to replace ministers with political affiliations with non-partisan technocrats.” BBC
“On Saturday, Iraqi security forces were deployed in Baghdad in preparation for a “million-man” march expected to take place later in the day, called by firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has been pressuring Abadi to announce a government of technocrats.” Rudaw
If you take a look at the make-up of the “protesters” who stormed parliament on Saturday, you’ll notice they are all men of fighting age. It’s Mr. Sadr’s death squads coming to town to send a little not-so-subtle message to the MPs. Even the New York Times had to take note of the obvious connection between the “protesters” and the IMF-backed prime minister:
“The protesters were mostly supporters of the powerful Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr. Rather than pushing for the ouster of Mr. Abadi, they have largely supported the prime minister as he has sought to make good on promises, still unfulfilled, to improve how the government works.
The ease with which they penetrated the rim of the Green Zone suggested that security forces — and perhaps Mr. Abadi himself, as some hinted — were supportive of the protesters. There were no reports of shots fired, and Mr. Sadr’s own militiamen were said to have taken charge of security near Parliament…
One protester inside Parliament, speaking to the Kurdish news channel Rudaw, pointed to chocolates on the desks of lawmakers and said: “People have nothing to eat. The lawmakers are sitting here eating chocolates and mocking our pain.”…
Parliament was stormed after a session that had been scheduled for Saturday was postponed for lack of a quorum. Mr. Abadi had been expected to introduce several new ministers as part of a promise to overhaul his cabinet and fill it with technocrats instead of politicians beholden to a party or sect.” New York Times
After their little photo-op invasion, the Sadr death squad “protesters” retired to a little encampment in the middle of the Green Zone as Abadi looked over the carnage of the day and said on national TV that they would arrest anyone involved in wrecking the parliament building. In spite of the fact that the perpetrators were located just a mile from the building…
“Despite Mr Abadi’s order – made after he visited the damaged parliament building – there are no indications that any arrests have taken place…” BBC
Local broadcasts didn’t dare mention that part of the story while Sadr laughs all the way to the IMF-backed bank.
Sadr’s other big issue, aside from wanting the IMF technocrats installed as soon as possible, is “corruption”. He’s apparently very angry about all that “corruption” from parliament members who refuse to hand over complete control of Iraq to the IMF.
“The protesters are supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has called for wide-ranging political reforms to combat the corruption and mismanagement that has bedeviled Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.” Virginian Pilot
“Supporters of the outspoken Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad on Saturday, rushing into the Parliament building while chanting slogans against government corruption, various news outlets reported. ” IBT
Kind of makes you wonder where they get that “anti-corruption” angle from doesn’t it? I thought it was all about installing pro-IMF technocrats in positions of power so they can impose harsh austerity measures on Iraqis who are far poorer than al-Sadr and his band of mercenary death squad members?
Oh wait.. now I remember:
“IMF leaders also want the government to tackle corruption, which is one of the topics discussed on the sides of IMF/World Bank 2016 Annual Spring Meeting between Iraqi civil society activists and senior IMF officials, who noted institutional corruption as one of the real obstacles to economic recovery.” Banking Information Center, April 28, 2016
If you recall, the Spring Meeting was held here in the states in D.C.
What a lovely little theatrical production the State Department, the Pentagon and PM Abadi have put on for the people of Iraq. It kind of reminds me of that tearing down of the Saddam statue they staged a decade or so ago.
The people of Iraq are suffering immensely under our neoliberal “free market” ideology that we installed after we illegally invaded and occupied the country. Poverty is at a 30% all-time high in the country and that is what they are officially reporting. God knows what it really is. People depend on the food and energy subsidies just to survive. So what these technocrats aim to install on behalf of the IMF and global businesses that want to swoop in and strip-mine even more from the country will have catastrophic effects on the general population. And that is too say nothing of the endless debt cycle they will be burdened with in the future.
The coup dry-run that was yesterday’s “protest”, supported by the prime minister and the Iraqi military, is obviously a message being sent to parliament. They had better approve all the technocrats and IMF demands as soon as possible or Abadi’s Sadr death squads will return, once again unhindered by security forces, to finish the job.
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