On Monday, September 3rd, violent protests began in the Iraqi city of Basra and surrounding areas. Iraqis are protesting the widespread corruption, high unemployment, and poor public services — particularly the polluted water supply (and resulting cholera outbreak) that have hospitalized tens of thousands.
The protests have begun as the Iraqi government struggles to form a government, after elections last May were indeterminate. By Friday, the violence escalated, and a state of emergency was declared in the city. Protestors set fire to government buildings and headquarters of the different political parties, and torched the Iranian consulate. The U.S. consulate in Basra was also targeted by rockets.
Remarkably, the U.S. government released a statement, holding Iran responsible for the violence. Iran’s Foreign Ministry called the U.S. accusations “astonishing, provocative and irresponsible.”
Also remarkable is that the dramatic violence in Basra has hardly been covered by the western media.