Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Beyond the Headlines: Iraq could face another summer of bloodshed

Hundreds of protesters were wounded and killed during protests in the southern region of Basra last summer

Hundreds of protesters converged on the streets of the southern Iraqi city of Basra last week.

Demonstrators across the province are calling for structural change to fix rampant corruption, a stagnant economy, high unemployment and underfunded public utilities.

Protests in Iraq are common, but last summer's demonstrations saw an escalation into violence. Hundreds were wounded and killed after clashes with police forces, and many thousands more were arrested. Government buildings were set on fire, and the province was on the edge of revolt.

Despite the violence, little has changed. The government still suffers from mismanagement and fraud. The country's elite have done little to improve conditions for the lower classes.

As temperatures creep closer to 50°C and the struggling electrical grid and fresh water supply are strained, many question whether the protests will spiral into similar violence.

On this week's episode of Beyond the Headlines, host Campbell MacDiarmid speaks with Dr Renad Mansour, a research fellow in the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, and Belkis Wille, senior Iraq researcher for Human Rights Watch.

For more news on the Middle East, listen to last week's episode.

Updated: July 2, 2019 01:52 PM

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