This is July’s edition of my south Iraq SIGACT monitoring and analysis report. July saw an explosion in the rate and scale of protest activity across the south. Provincial council buildings were stormed in several provinces, and the offices of political parties and militias were also attacked. Monitoring captured a total of 118 incidents of which 96 were protests. By province, the figure for protest activity broke down as follows: Basra 61; Dhi Qar 17; Maysan 8; Muthanna 9. These figures likely under report the actual number of incidents since information was difficult to obtain while the internet was cut in early July. I also believe provinces such as Maysan have had more protests than recorded simply because of lower levels of interest in these areas compared with more strategically important sites in Basra. Reporting on protest activity has also crowded out reporting of other incident types. This said, there have still been numerous serious violent incidents (16) including the assassination of a lawyer in 5 Mile district of Basra City on 23 July which prompted demonstrations from the local bar association. This post will simply present my data. For an analysis of the protests and their underlying causes please see a longer piece I wrote for LSE’s Middle East Centre.
It is worth noting that the scale of protests diminished fairly quickly. Over the last week, protests have been smaller in scale and have tended to more sector-specific and thus pose less of a challenge to the local security forces and the state. One area of persisting activity are the sit-in demonstrations around various oil facilities in Basra province. The most notable cases are: near Bahla in the north, where protesters are persistently trying to shut down the road around station 8 of West Qurna 1 and the road leading to the Rumaila field to the south; activity at Lukoil’s sites in West Qurna 2 further north; and at least 2 sit-in protests attempting to disrupt operations at the facilities west of al-Zubair, the Burjasiya sites.
SIGACT MAP: South Iraq July 2018 (Click “View larger map” for full functionality)
PIVOT TABLE: South Iraq July 2018
MAP: Protest Incidents in July