Iraq protesters have been demanding a change in the Government for weeks now, which failed to meet the demands of the people. However, the mass demonstrations initially began to demand employment and jobs in an oil-rich country with a profound poverty problem.
The protesters have demanded Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi to resign from his position as his leadership failed to provide reforms against corruption which is a major cause of job scarcity in the private and public sectors. The country suffers from severe poverty conditions. The people have acknowledged that there is a huge gap between the rich and poor that needs to be bridged.
One of the protesters told international media that they had to walk 4 kilometres to reach the protest camps as they cannot afford to pay for taxi fares. She lives in an informal shelter which is in a poor state. She further reflected on the poor health facilities in the country. There is an extreme lack of proper medical facilities. The hospitals are under-equipped and the doctors work under immense threat from the politically influential people.
Moussa Khalaf, an economic history professor in Diwaniyah, told international media that the degrading economic condition of the country is the major reason behind the mass demonstrations. There are over eight million people who are below the poverty line. According to the statement released by the World Bank, one of five Iraq people are poverty-stricken and the youth employment stands in one quarter. Iraq’s government has over the decade provided the maximum number of jobs but recently struggled due to a large number of graduate students against the available vacancies.
On the other hand, as the world powers shift to other energy resources, it will impact the exports of crude oil making the conditions far more severe of the Iraqis. As of now, the protesters believe that the Iraq government provide jobs on the bases of bribe, nepotism, and other corrupt practice.
(with inputs from agencies)