Protests have rocked Iraq in recent weeks. Tens of thousands of protesters have demonstrated against the government in Baghdad and parts of the south demanding jobs, services and the end of corruption. Some have demanded the overhaul of Iraq’s political class. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government, that was formed only last year, has warned that there are no quick fixes to Iraq’s problems, while offering an increase in salaries, a basic wage for poorer families and interest-free housing credit programs. But Iraqis no longer trust their governing elites to deliver on promised reforms. The dangerous escalation has resulted in clashes between protesters and security forces. More than a hundred have been killed and thousands have been injured. The current crisis is Iraq’s worst since Islamic State seized Mosul in 2014. This panel discussed the implications of the protests for Iraq’s immediate and long-term future, examining prospects for genuine reform in the country, the likelihood of greater unrest and violence, and Iraq’s regional relations at a time of immense geopolitical uncertainty especially in the context of increased US-Iran tensions.
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