President Salih is expected to nominate a new prime minister on Monday, December 16, as he faces a deadline following Adel Abdul Mahdi's resignation on November 30. Protests have continued on the national level despite the resignation, in which protesters are asking for a change-up of the current political system. Reports also emerged that students of the University of Babylon have blocked the university entrance, barring teachers from entering on Monday, as of the afternoon (local time).
On Sunday, December 15, an activist was killed in Baghdad after being attacked by unknown armed men in what is believed to be a series of targeted killings and kidnappings to silence government opposition. Two other activists were injured in Diwaniya in what some sources reported as an IED attack.
Roadblocks, other transportation and business disruptions, and a heightened security presence are to be expected throughout Baghdad and other urban centers in the coming days as protests, spontaneous or otherwise, remain possible.
Demonstrations broke out in Iraq on October 1 to protest perceived government corruption, inadequate provision of public services, and a lack of job opportunities. Following weeks of relative calm, demonstrations violently resumed on October 24-25, coinciding with the deadline issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani to the government to produce a report on who in the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) was responsible for firing at civilians during previous demonstrations. An estimated 450 people have been killed and unconfirmed estimates state that over 20,000 people have been wounded since protests began.
Individuals in Iraq are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings due to potential violence, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business in areas affected by anti-government demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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.
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