January 01, 2020

Why Did the U.S. Become the Focus of Iraqis Anger?
For months, furious protests have battered Iraq, driven by frustration at a dysfunctional economy, corruption and the pervasive influence of a foreign power: Iran.Then a rocket attack killed an American contractor in Iraq, American airstrikes hit an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, and Iraqis' anger turned back on the United States, culminating with a break-in at its embassy compound in Baghdad on Tuesday.The airstrikes and the embassy break-in brought the United States to its most serious crisis in the country in years -- and pulled it deeper into the volatile problems engulfing Iraq and its neighbor Iran.Complicated at the best of times, the relations between Iraq, Iran and the United States are now even more fraught.What happened in the last few days?On Friday, more than 30 rockets were fired at an Iraqi military base near Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, killing an American civilian contractor and wounding four American and two Iraqi servicemen.The United States accused an Iranian-backed militia, Kataib Hezbollah, of carrying out the attack. A spokesman for the militia denied its involvement. President Donald Trump blamed Iran for the attack, writing Tuesday on Twitter, "Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many."The American military launched airstrikes against the militia over the weekend, killing 24 members in what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called "a decisive response." He said the United States would "not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy."The United States and Iran are at long-standing odds -- over influence in Iraq, Iran's nuclear program and other issues -- and tensions have spiked under the Trump administration, which pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord and imposed punishing sanctions on Tehran.But the American airstrikes came at a particularly combustible moment in Iraq, where anger at foreign meddling was already running high. The country's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, warned that Iraq must not become "a field for settling regional and international scores," and Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called the airstrikes a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.On Tuesday, protesters stormed the sprawling U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad. They did not enter the main embassy buildings, and eventually joined thousands of others nearby -- many of them members of the fighting groups technically overseen by the Iraqi military, and many chanting "Death to America."Trump accused Iran of "orchestrating" the break-in, adding "they will be held fully responsible."Many of the protesters who broke into the compound were members of Kataib Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias. While Iran remains deeply influential in Iraq, it has also been the recent target of anger, and sometimes violence, by Iraqi protesters.Why has Iraq been so volatile recently?Huge, sometimes violent protests began erupting across Iraq in October, as people angry about unemployment, corruption and shambolic public services poured into the streets. For 12 weeks, the government flailed for a solution, variously promising reform and cracking down.More than 500 people were killed and 19,000 injured in the unrest, according to the U.N. special envoy to Iraq.The brutal government response hardened protesters' resolve, and the protests gradually expanded to include complaints about Iran's widespread influence in Iraq's government. (An Iranian general, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, had brokered the deal creating the current government.) Many protesters link Iranian influence to corruption in the government and among Shiite militias.In November, protesters burned down the Iranian Consulate in the southern city of Najaf, and for weeks, protesters camped outside the heavily guarded Green Zone of Baghdad, the seat of Parliament and the prime minister. By the end of the month, Abdul-Mahdi said he would resign.Iraq's government has been in limbo ever since, unable to pick his successor.How is Iran involved in Iraq's militias?After years of competing with the United States for influence over Iraq, Iran has emerged as an aggressive and powerful force in Iraqi life.Iran wields powerful influence in the government, business and religion. Iranian-linked parties have gained significant strength in Parliament, especially since the American military withdrawal in 2009. And when the Islamic State invaded Iraq in 2014, Iran helped form Shiite militias to fight it, giving it leverage in Iraq's security.As the militias and the United States -- effectively fighting on the same side -- drove the Islamic State out of territory it controlled in Iraq, the militias gained influence. They control powerful factions in Parliament and the military, and some have turned into mafia-like groups that use extortion rackets to profit from Iraqis.Some militias have attacked Iraqi bases where Americans are stationed, too. The populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has called for the United States and Iran to leave Iraq, urged the militias to stop "irresponsible actions."The group accused in Friday's rocket attack, Kataib Hezbollah, has close ties to Iran, but many Iraqis consider it a primarily Iraqi force. It is separate from the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, though both groups have Iran's backing and oppose the United States. The State Department has designated both groups as terrorist organizations.Kataib Hezbollah promised "retaliation" for the airstrikes, without providing details. Iran's Foreign Ministry said the United States "must accept full responsibility for the consequences of this illegal action."What is the United States presence in Iraq?The United States has about 5,200 troops in Iraq, and a fluctuating number of civilian contractors. Most of the soldiers are stationed at a base northwest of Baghdad and at a base in the Kurdish-controlled north.The embassy compound in Baghdad opened in 2009 and, at 104 acres, is nearly as large as Vatican City. The compound and the American Consulate in Irbil, in northern Iraq, have a combined staff of 486, most in Baghdad.After the storming Tuesday, the Pentagon sent 120 additional Marines to Baghdad. Late Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced that about 750 troops would deploy to the region.The American presence in Iraq has declined sharply from its height during and immediately after the Iraq War. There were nearly 16,000 people in the embassy compound in 2012, and 170,000 troops in Iraq in 2007. Amid rising tensions with Iran this year, the State Department ordered some diplomats to leave the embassy.What's happening in Iran?Adding to the regional turmoil, Iran has also been reckoning with its worst unrest in decades.These protests began in November with a sudden increase in gasoline prices, and grew into demonstrations against Iran's leaders and how they have handled American sanctions, a staggering economy and anger from neighbors in Iraq and Lebanon.Thousands of people demonstrated, many from cities with large low-income and working-class populations, but Iran's security forces crushed the protest, killing up to 450 people, according to human rights groups. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, justified the crackdown by calling the protests a plot by Iran's enemies at home and abroad.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Teresa's engagement, Lala's breakup and more Virtual RealiTea drama | Page Six Celebrity News
October 22, 2021
pL6thz9zRWc
Cynthia Bailey wants to protect husband Mike Hill from ‘reality TV curse’ | Page Six Celebrity News
October 22, 2021
TO1ltz90FV0
De Niro’s estranged wife won’t get half of his acting income | Page Six Celebrity News
October 22, 2021
SIQj1AuioZs
E-40 Slinging Gourmet Meats as 'Goon with the Spoon' | TMZ
October 25, 2021
_3NUUJaIIoY
Sisqo Has Advice For Drake On Dealing With Impostors, Don't Sue Them | TMZ
October 22, 2021
VkjnwYMtkRo
Snoop Dogg's 50th Birthday Party, Fully Lit Old School Playas Ball | TMZ TV
October 22, 2021
kc62svaZeVo
Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji Dish on Season 5 of ‘Insecure’
October 22, 2021
KA7ZEjY3rvk
Kristen Stewart Opens Up on 'Eternals' LGBTQ Inclusion, Ruby Rose Battles with WarnerBros | The Take
October 21, 2021
7d3MFpaP2L8
AT&T Stock Falls Following Q3 Earnings Results
October 21, 2021
LZNkmpoVefA
Lizzo Splits, Nicki vs. Fan & "RHOP" Shady Dinner
October 25, 2021
u3no5pbvSWE
Scary News, "90 Day" DMs & Bear Crashes Wedding
October 25, 2021
BARMMp0_gZI
Dave Chappelle Speaks Out After Netflix Special Backlash
October 25, 2021
FkuG0Mi1pOA
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
19
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group H
Sydney FC - Shanghai SIPG
17
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Spain - Germany
14
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Germany - Ukraine
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Liverpool
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Aston Villa
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Real Madrid
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Verona
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Tottenham Hotspur
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Napoli
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Roma
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Juventus
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Monchengladbach
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Wolves
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg - Hoffenheim
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Athletic Bilbao
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Levante - Alaves
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Granada CF
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Crotone
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Villarreal
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bayern Munich
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester United
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Sheffield United
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Cadiz
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Betis
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Augsburg - Hertha Berlin
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Stuttgart - Eintracht Frankfurt
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - SC Freiburg
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Preston NE
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Fiorentina
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Coventry
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Swansea City
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - QPR
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Barnsley
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Wycombe Wanderers
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Fulham
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Millwall
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Brentford - Middlesbrough
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Bournemouth
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Osasuna
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Spezia
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Leeds
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Ferencvaros - Juventus
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Barcelona - Dynamo K.
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group A
Salzburg - Bayern Munich
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group D
Atalanta - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.