News Release

Behind the Iraq Protests: U.S. and Iran “Partners in Crime”


RAED JARRAR, jarrar.raed at, @raedjarrar
Jarrar is an Iraqi-born human rights activist and writer based in Washington, D.C. He recently wrote the piece “What Do Iraqi Protesters Want?” and was  interviewed on the Intercepted podcast with Jeremy Scahill. Earlier this month, he was featured on an news release: “Iraq Protests Escalating Against Foreign Interference and Sectarianism” in which he raised the possibility of protesters entering the Green Zone.

He said today: “While Iraqi protesters have been taking to the streets for months now with clear demands that include the end to all foreign intervention in their country, both the U.S. and Iranian governments have been attempting to manipulate them for their own political benefit. The recent escalation between the U.S. and Iran, including the protests outside the U.S. Embassy today by the Iraqi Hezbollah militia, is just the latest example of this manipulation.

“Reports from human rights organizations indicate that hundreds of unarmed Iraqi civilians have been killed and thousands injured by the Iraqi government and militias linked to ruling parties, including Hezbollah. These Iraqi ruling parties are supported and armed by both the U.S. and Iranian governments. Even groups like Hezbollah (with closer ties to Iran) were caught with five U.S.-made Abrams tanks a few years ago — the U.S. and Iran are seen by the majority of Iraqis as partners in crime when it comes to supporting these sectarian militias.

“With over 11 attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq over the past few weeks by pro-Iranian militias, the Iranian government is escalating pressure on the U.S., trying to manipulate Iraqis into channeling their outrage toward the U.S. instead of Iran. Likewise, the U.S. government is also pointing fingers at Iran, telling Iraqis that Iranian foreign intervention is their problem.

“Iraqi protestors believe that both the U.S. and Iran are the problem. Iraqi protestors stormed into the Iranian consulates in the south of the country last month, and — if they had access to the Green Zone — they would have also protested against the U.S. Embassy.”

“Although today’s protest at the embassy was staged by Hezbollah, the U.S. government should not respond by escalating its proxy war against Iran in Iraq. The U.S. government should understand that Iraqis are also equally opposed to U.S. intervention. The right move is to deescalate, withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq, and end U.S. military aid to the Iraqi government and its deadly sectarian militias.”