Some 250 people protested at the entrance to an oil field near Basra on Tuesday, July 17, before being forcibly dispersed by security forces, as public frustration mounts in Iraq's southern provinces over perceived widespread corruption, unemployment, and the poor provision of public services. Related demonstrations, initially organized in Basra province on July 8, have since notably spread to the provinces of Dhi Qar, Najaf, Maysan, Muthanna, Karbala, and Babil, as well as to the capital, Baghdad.
At least eight people have been killed in the protests and accompanying clashes with security forces, and some 56 others have been wounded. Several regional airlines have also diverted or canceled flights to Najaf International Airport (NJF) due to concerns over continuing unrest. Internet access has reportedly been restricted in the southern provinces of the country in recent days. Additional protests are expected in southern Iraq in the coming days amid a heightened security presence. Clashes between protesters and security forces and further transportation disruptions cannot be ruled out.
The ongoing protests, focused in southern Iraq, have been organized to denounce corruption, unemployment, and the perceived inadequate provision of public services, such as water and electricity.
Individuals in Iraq are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments. Travelers flying to or from NJF should contact their airline for additional information.
The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.
Copyright and Disclaimer