Introduction: Since October 2019, mass demonstrations have been held in Iraq demanding better living conditions, independence from regional and global powers, an end to corruption and eventually the downfall of the entire political system in place in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion.
The protesters are mostly Shi’a youth, students and civil society activists from the majority-Shi’a provinces of Baghdad, Basra, Najaf, Karbala and Nasiriyah. Since the protests began, nearly 700 people have been killed, and over 30,000 injured, the vast majority of whom are from the Shi’ite community. In this context, Shi’a Islamist parties have viewed the protest movement as an existential threat to their power, mainly because of the protests’ rejection of a system which Shi’a Islamist parties have played a significant role in both creating and maintaining. For this reason, with the exception of the Sadrist Movement (as explained below), Shi’a Islamists’ interests have been in complete conflict with the demands of the protests.