For the past several weeks, Washington Post reporter Mustafa Salim has had a front row view to massive protests that have erupted in Baghdad and other cities in Iraq. As he explains in this Global Dispatches podcast episode, these protests are neither centrally organized, nor do they have an explicit set of demands. Yet, they may prove to be powerful enough to bring down the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
The protests began in early October, mostly by young men from poorer Shi’ite cities and towns angered by corruption and their own economic distress. But now, the protests have since expanded to include women and men from all walks of life.
In our conversation, Mustafa Salim describes the scene on the ground in Baghdad where I reached him a few days ago. We discuss how these protests originated, where they may be heading, why Iran is a target of the protesters, and how humble drivers of three wheel taxis that cater to the urban poor, known as Tuk Tuks, became symbolic heroes of this protest movement.
If you have 20 minutes and want both a deeper understanding of what is driving the Iraq protests and what the mood is on the ground in Baghdad, have a listen.