, 26 tweets, 9 min read
Just spoke to a friend in #Najaf. Protesters heading to the old city (shrine) and airport. Governorate building has been stormed, Hikma and Dawa Party offices attacked. Gunfire can be heared as security forces attempt to disperse the crowds. Chaotic, frightening situation. #Iraq
There is no doubt that the vast majority of peaceful protesters have legitimate grievances against government corruption but the chaos unfolding on the streets in Baghdad and the South also provides opportunities for those with far more sinister agendas to exploit. #IraqProtests
Snr gov't official I spoke to questioned why protesters would attack lighting grids in central Baghdad and make it even harder for the security forces to see what's going on in the dark. When maintenance crews are dispatched to restore power, they are attacked too. #IraqProtests
He also reported protesters in Amara, Maysan who attempted to storm a power station but were confronted by tribal forces mobilised by their relatives (workers inside the station).

Who are these people? What do they want to achieve with these acts of sabotage? #IraqProtests
Internet access has just returned in Najaf but electricity still cut off in some areas of the city. Residents could hear non-stop gunfire through the night yesterday and it started again this afternoon: "It's as if we're in the middle of a war" #IraqProtests
In Friday Prayer sermon, Ayatollah Sistani condemns attacks on peaceful protesters and security forces. He hopes everyone understands the dangerous consequences of violence and criticises the government, parliament and judiciary for failing to deliver real reform. #IraqProtests
Sistani calls on executive, legislative & judicial branches to move beyond "muhasasa" system and says that if the people's demand for genuine reform continue to be ignored, they will become even stronger. Powers that be must come up with new reform plan. #IraqProtests
Sistani: In many instances, the protests drifted into "riots and bloody clashes" in "painful and regrettable scenes" #IraqProtests
Sistani: If the big blocs in parliament, which the government of Iraq was based on, do not change how they deal with reform and corruption, nothing will change on the ground. #IraqProtests
Sistani: The government has not done its duty in holding to account corrupt officials. They must be brought to justice. The people’s money must be returned. #IraqProtests
"But dozens of protesters amassed in a main thoroughfare nearby, descending from trucks and buses wearing masks and carrying Iraqi flags." #IraqProtests amp.france24.com/en/20191004-ir…
An Iraqi demands as a right that the government use new tear gas canisters against protesters because their eyes are being blinded by the old ones which expired in 2014.
"You came [to power] in the name of Hussain. You ruled liked Yazid." #IraqProtests
Reference in #pt is a 7th century battle between the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, Imam Hussain, and the Umayyad Caliph Yazid ibn Muawiya's army, which Shia Muslims mark every year as a heroic, revolutionary stand against tyranny. Imam Hussain and his companions were massacred.
More footage of #IraqProtests showing Iraqi soldiers walking side by side with protesters, under fire from unknown third party
Iraqi security forces fought in the toughest urban combat since WWII and defeated the deadliest terrorist organisation in the world but can't locate some snipers hiding in buildings in central Baghdad?

As a friend in Baghdad asked, "are we in a Hollywood movie?"
Many on social media are pushing the narrative that Iran's proxies are behind the violence in Iraq.

Yes, there's anti-Iran sentiments amongst protesters but, leaving aside scant evidence, everyone in Iraq that benefits from the status quo/muhasasa stands to lose, not just Iran.
Sistani Friday prayer sermon: We condemned the violence last week but in the last few days we witnessed an unprecedented escalation against protesters and attacks against the media to prevent them from covering the protests. #IraqProtests
Sistani: Whilst the authorities announced strict orders to security forces to not shoot protesters, thousands of protesters fell victim to live ammunition fired in full view of many, in horrific scenes of extreme cruelty beyond imagination. #IraqProtests
Sistani: The government & security forces are responsible for the heavy bloodshed in the past days, and can not shirk this responsibility. They are responsible when outlaw armed groups attack the media, under the watchful eyes of security forces, to inditimate their workers.
Sistani: We stres our solidarity with the legitimate demands of peaceful protesters, as we have done in previous years, and demand the government & judiciary investigate everything that has happened, and bring to justice the elements who fired at protesters, whoever they may be.
Sistani: These urgent measures will reveal the seriousness of the government's intentions to undertake real reform. The prestige of the state must be maintained, security forces must be disciplined & stop those who threaten, beat, kidnap, snipe & kill with impunity. #IraqProtests
Sistani: We have no special interest or relationship with any party in power. We monitor the gov't & defend only the people's interests. Our voice will remain with the voices of the oppressed of this nation, wherever they are, regardless of their sect or race. #IraqProtests
A much stronger condemnation of the gov't from Sistani this week indicates increased frustration with violent response ("beyond imagination", "extreme cruelty") by security forces, and armed groups operating under their noses, targeting peaceful protesters demanding their rights.
Iraq PM sent several messages to Sistani asking for his support to calm the streets and help the government control the situation. But Sistani refused, saying that he supports the protesters' demands and places all responsibility on the PM #IraqProtests al-monitor.com/pulse/original…
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