Tim McLaughlin commanded a Marine Corps tank platoon that took part in some of the earliest fighting of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Like many veterans, the experience left him with post-traumatic stress and conflicted feelings about the war. In an attempt to process his experiences, after his service, McLaughlin left the U.S. and moved to Bosnia, where he lived for nine months in a home looking over the old city of Sarajevo — a place that, like Iraq, had been the site of terrible violence.
“I just wanted to be able to go to a country that had experienced mass trauma and to see how people dealt with it,” McLaughlin said. “What I learnt is that for people who experience it, trauma never goes away.”
Twenty years since U.S. troops first invaded, the U.S. war in Iraq has become a faded memory to many Americans. For Iraqis themselves, the consequences of the war are still an unavoidable part of their daily lives. But trauma also lingers for a group of Americans unlikely to forget the war as long as they live: former U.S. service members. More than a million Americans are estimated to have served in Iraq over the course of more than a decade, mostly in noncombat roles. Alongside millions of Iraqis who were killed or displaced by the conflict, thousands of Americans died or were wounded in Iraq.
For many veterans, the war has been the defining event of their lives. Yet it has been difficult to reconcile the terrible sacrifices they made during the conflict with the unhappy outcome or the false narratives that initiated it.
“The idea of going to war is horrible. When people are talking about it on TV, they are talking about something that is not real to them. When it becomes real to you, it stays real to you your whole life,” said McLaughlin. “For me, the experience was violent, stressful, and sad. I truly believe that we were the best in the world at our job and what we did. Unfortunately, the job of the Marine Corps was killing people and destroying stuff.”
In the years after the conflict, McLaughlin struggled with what he had experienced in Iraq. He later published his diaries, documenting the violence and terror of the early days of the invasion. He has also grappled with the tragic nature of the war for Iraqis, who, due to the decision to invade by the Bush administration, were forced to suffer for the September 11 attacks despite having no connection to them.
“I didn’t decide to invade Iraq. I have no negative feelings towards Iraqis at all. The people I served with who are alive, I love and adore. The people who are dead and gone, I love and adore,” said McLaughlin. “Where I do get frustrated is with the people who chose to do this. I just had a job. The people in Iraq were just living their lives. I do get frustrated with the people who made this decision. I mean, you sent us to invade the wrong country.”
An Iraqi family reacts after three family members, innocent civilians, were shot and killed by U.S. Marines in an incident in Baghdad, Iraq, on April 9, 2003. (Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Photo: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Hell for Life
The initial claim that launched the war, which was that Iraq harbored weapons of mass destruction and posed an imminent threat to the United States and its allies, was disproved early on in the conflict. What Americans and Iraqis were then left to experience was a slow, grinding military occupation and insurgency, fought without a clear purpose, which gradually devolved into a civil war that left millions dead, wounded, or displaced.
At the end of all the bloodshed, Saddam Hussein and his family were gone, but life in Iraq today remains difficult for many who have had to deal with the aftermath of the war (and there are still approximately 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq as trainers and advisers to the Iraqi military). Many Americans who had joined the military out of a sense of national duty following September 11 found themselves killing and dying in a war against people who had had nothing to do with the attacks.
“For people who had enlisted in the aftermath of 9/11 with the intention of avenging the attacks, to then end up in Iraq — which had very little or nothing to do with it — it is very difficult to reconcile,” said Gregory Daddis, a former U.S. Army colonel and veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom who later served as a military historian. “You have veterans now dealing with their experiences and trying to answer the question of whether their sacrifices were worth it. With wars like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam, it is very difficult to answer that in a positive way.”
In addition to hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed in the war, it is estimated that roughly 4,500 U.S. service members died in Iraq. Many thousands more were wounded, often with debilitating injuries that have required long-term care and made a return to normal life impossible. Despite whatever support they may receive from the federal government, the catastrophic wartime injuries that many Americans in Iraq suffered has been beyond what even attentive medical service can heal. Some are still dying today as a result of wounds suffered during combat. While the war may be disappearing from the memory of Americans, these injuries and traumas are a daily reminder of the legacy of the Iraq War to those who experienced it firsthand.
Dennis Fritz served as an U.S. Air Force officer for 28 years before resigning in the early days of the war and spending over a decade working at the Warrior Clinic at Walter Reed Military Hospital, helping with the recovery of service members wounded in Iraq and other conflicts. The experience of dealing with a constant stream of grievously wounded service members has fed a sense of anger on behalf of soldiers manipulated by political leaders who made the decision to invade Iraq.
“I’m upset about it to this day because our service members were used as pawns.”
“Most Americans don’t even understand that war is real when they are watching it on television. It is only when they come to Walter Reed to see a family member who lost a limb or had PTSD that they realize,” said Fritz, who retired from the Air Force at the rank of master sergeant and now does writing and public advocacy on behalf of veterans in favor of military restraint. “We have people who suffer wounds that mean it’s going to be hell for them for the rest of their lives. Meanwhile, as we now know, Iraq was no threat to us. I’m upset about it to this day because our service members were used as pawns.”
Many of those responsible for the Iraq War have gone on to enjoy rewarding careers as senior policymakers in Washington or have cashed in on their time in government by taking well-paid roles in the private sector. Meanwhile, the trail of suffering left behind by the conflict continues to claim victims, both in the Middle East, where the consequences of the war are still felt by millions, and in the towns and cities of the United States, where the physical and psychological wounds of the war are still quietly carried by many veterans.
“I know two people who were officers during the war and are going through a hard time with PTSD right now and the guilt that they feel because their soldiers lost their lives,” Fritz said. “But it’s not because of them that they died; it’s because of the political leaders who sent them to war on a lie. They’re ones who should have PTSD — but they don’t. They just go off to write books and get themselves lucrative jobs.”
The total costs of the war in Iraq and Syria are expected to exceed half a million human lives and $2.89 trillion, according to new estimates estimates released today by the Costs of War Project. This budgetary figure includes costs to date, estimated at about $1.79 trillion, and the costs of veterans’ care through 2050.
Since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, between 550,000-580,000 people have been killed in Iraq and Syria, the current locations of the United States’ Operation Inherent Resolve — and several times as many may have died due to indirect causes such as preventable diseases. More than 7 million people from Iraq and Syria are currently refugees, and nearly 8 million people are internally displaced in the two countries.
“The Bush administration was convinced and assured the American people and the world that the war would have few casualties of all kinds — civilian and military — and would lead to quick victory,” writes Oxford professor and Costs of War co-director Neta C. Crawford, author of the analysis. “As the Costs of War project has documented consistently, these optimistic assumptions are confronted by a record of death, high and ongoing costs, and regional devastation.”
Crawford also estimates that 98 to 122 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MMTCO2e) were emitted from U.S. military operations between 2003 and 2021 in the war zone, calculated as 12 to 15 percent of the DOD’s total operational greenhouse gas emissions.
The U.S. war in Iraq began on March 19, 2003. Most allied and U.S. forces left Iraq in 2011, but the U.S. returned to significant military operations in Iraq and Syria in late 2014 in fighting that was undertaken to remove Islamic State from territory it had seized in those two countries.
The war continues, with a nearly $400 million budget request from the Biden Administration this month to counter ISIS.
“It is part of the American way of making war, arriving unwanted in a third world country with promises to liberate, and then leaving as our domestic politics (or just losing) turn that war into an unwanted child.”
A protestor getting treated by a doctor in Baghdad. Ali al-Mikdam for Raise the Voices
Two years after defeating the Islamic State forces, Iraq is once again at war. However, this time, Iraq is facing domestic opposition. Since October 2019, protests and riots have erupted all over Iraq as citizens demand an end to institutional corruption, high levels of unemployment, and inadequate public services and infrastructure. Despite massive oil reserves, which allowed Iraq to achieve record annual oil sales in 2019, over 8% of Iraq’s population (about 3 million people) is unemployed and an even greater number is in poverty. Corruption is rife in Iraq’s government and profits from oil sales have a way of benefitting the political elite instead of going towards the general public.
Much of Iraq’s population currently lacks access to clean water, electricity, stable jobs, and proper human services. They also lack proper representation in the government, which is the root of the many problems that they are facing. The protestors’ main goal is to change the current electoral process to one that allows for greater representation of the general population rather than just the elite few. They are also calling for the resignation of central Iraqi authorities—such as former Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi—who they feel have caused much of the corruption and inefficiency in their government.
Government forces and government-linked militias used tear gas, live ammunition, and smoke grenades against the protestors.
However, the peaceful grass-roots protestors were met with violence and deadly force as government forces and government-linked militias used tear gas, live ammunition, and smoke grenades against the protestors. A recent Amnesty Internationalreport put the verified death toll of protestors at over 600 people, while other reports have numbered the injured in the tens of thousands. Now, as protests continue, what originally started as demands for public reform have quickly turned into calls for a total governmental overhaul.
In order to understand more about the current situation, Raise the Voices interviewed a young Iraqi activist named Ali al-Mikdam. Based in Baghdad, where the largest demonstrations are occurring, Ali has been protesting from the beginning, on October 1st, 2019.
Note: Interview was conducted through a translator and has been edited for length and clarity.
Emma: Hi Ali, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Ali: I am Ali. I am from Baghdad. I am a journalist and human rights activist. I started this work in 2014 by working with NGOs for press releases and media. I attended the demonstrations in 2011 and 2015 and started my life in human rights activism in 2015. I am also working as a freelancer for BBC on a documentary film. I also work with some Iraqi TV [channels].
I [have been] inviting people for protests since September 24 in different ways, like on social media and on the ground. And the problems started from there. I filmed and documented everything…I am filming and documenting the attacks of the militias and Iraqi armies. And there started the problem of my life and the protestors’.
Emma: So you are receiving a lot of threats?
Ali: Yes, a lot.
Emma: You told me about them threatening your family.
Ali: Yes, the problem was that everybody [who has protested] from the 1st of October is afraid to show themselves to the channels, talking about the threats and what’s happening with people in Tahrir square and the people asking for freedom.
So it’s my responsibility as a human rights activist, a journalist, and as one of the protestors who is helping to invite people to tell the media and the activists. Because of that I lost my job as a freelancer and I lost my apartment in Baghdad. They came to my apartment. They destroyed everything there. I left Baghdad to save my life.
On September 25, 2019, a group of people protested outside the Prime Minister’s office in Baghdad. The peaceful demonstration was met with violence when security forces used hot water jets to suppress the protestors. The security forces also conducted random arrests, injuring multiple protestors. The violent crackdown drew severe backlash across the country, which was further exacerbated by Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi’s demotion of Counter-Terrorism Services Chief Abdel Wahab al-Saedi on September 27th. The demotion of al-Saedi angered many protestors—who viewed him as a war hero that had played a critical role in the defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq—because it was rumored that al-Saedi’s transfer was because he had spoken out against the continued corruption of the Iraqi government.
These events culminated in the widespread protests on October 1st. Protestors marched through Tahrir Square towards the Green Zone, officially known as the International Zone of Baghdad. The Green Zone houses government buildings—such as the US embassy and parliament headquarters—and is well-fortified and blockaded. As such, the protests quickly turned violent as security forces started using tear gas, sound bombs, and hot water to suppress the protestors.
Ali: What happened exactly is, on the 1st of October, we were [going] to Tahrir Square. It was a peaceful protest/demonstration. The problem was the army and the police at Sinak Bridge, they started using hot water and big black bombs on the protestors. Then, after that they started using the tear gas. All this happened in about 20 min. They started with a sound boom, and then the bullets. In that moment, in that second, I saw three youths die with my own eyes because of the tear gas. Some of it hit their faces, some of it hit their bodies. I was filming it, so the people were very angry about what happened. I think this is one of the reasons why the protesting continued from 1st of October to the next day, because of the blood and the bullets, and because of the army and the police using tear gas and bullets on a peaceful protest.
Because of the Ministry of Interior and the Iraqi security forces that have surrounded Tahiri square since the 1st of October—the forces at that time were more than the forces used in fighting ISIS—many people, and by many, I mean thousands, hundreds of thousands of people started to demonstrate in their own neighborhoods and own streets because they could not enter Tahrir square. People were so angry and protested strongly because of what the security forces did on October 1, the killings of peaceful protestors.
The Iraqi government at that time, they locked the internet. They closed the whole internet and unless you had a VSAT connection, no one could access the normal internet through mobile or WiFi. Even if you have VPN, it was 100% locked down. This way, the government blocked access to information so people didn’t know about what happened in Tahrir square or the demonstrations in general.
The government was also publishing false information about what was going on. The spokesmen were in official meetings saying that there weren’t any human rights violations and there wasn’t anything done by the Iraqi government and that everything is normal. Because of this, the activists started thinking about delivering the right information, the correct information about what is going on in Tahiri square and in the demonstrations.
I was supporting my friends in their neighborhoods and told them what to do and how to keep the protests peaceful and in its original context. The main thing we were doing during that time, during the curfew and the internet blockade, was protesting in our neighborhoods, and not going to the official departments for work and to universities and schools. We did a civilian blockade. We would stop government work, stop everything, and push the government to accept our demands or as much as they could of our demands. I kept communicating with my friends to keep organizing the protests in their neighborhoods and at the same time, I was going on televisions and delivering the information through some limited channels.
Emma: Did you think that was successful, that you were able to really get people out on the streets and organize themselves, did that work do you think?
Translator: Ali asked me to answer by myself. I was participating in protests October 2nd by myself. By my knowledge, I can say that Ali and his friends were doing a really big part in the protests. They were delivering a lot of information about what’s going on… He was publishing exclusive content about what [was] going on in the protests [and] was [helping connect the] activists.
Protestors gather at a rally in Baghdad. Ali al-Mikdam for Raise the Voices
Accountability for the violent suppression of protests is made difficult by the variety of groups involved in the brutal crackdown, including semi-independent paramilitary groups such as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), in addition to government security forces. The PMF was created in 2014 to help fight the Islamic State and protect holy sites from damage. Originally starting out with just 7 militias, it presently has over 50 groups, of which many are considered terrorist organizations by the US. However, while they operate under government orders, they also offer a degree of separation between officials and the violence caused by the militias.
Ali: So what happened after the first couple days of the protests is that people started gathering in the neighborhoods and the streets. As long as they made demonstrations, even small ones, the Iraqi government was following them and persecuting them. They sent security forces to shoot at them and kill people. To kill protestors, even in small gatherings.
Then the government started sending militias like Hezbollah, and Khorasani. They started sending these militias, especially Hezbollah, to protests in neighborhoods, and let these militias shoot people immediately, and gave the okay to the militias to kill people. Then, the government wouldn’t look responsible for these killings. The government could say, “It’s the militias, we don’t know who’s doing this,”. But what is obvious to the streets, what is obvious to everyone, is that the government and militias are on the same side, which is the side of killing people, of killing the protestors wherever they exist.
However, while the militias may operate under Iraqi government orders, they get their funding and support from the Iranian government. Iran has been a major player in Iraqi affairs and politics since the end of the war with the Islamic State. They promised to help stabilize Iraq’s economy and in the process, inserted their influence into the government and militias. While it was common knowledge that Iran played a major behind-the-scenes role in Iraq, this intelligence report released by The Intercept showed that Iranian ties ran much deeper than expected in the Iraqi government. In fact, the leaked reports shed light on evidence that Iran had much to do with the current power structure and leadership style of Iraq.
Ali: The Iraqi government is getting a lot of power from the Irani militias, which have a really big influence on Iraq. [The Iranians] have a coalition and their own members in parliament who follow and implement the demands of the Irani foreign policy. [This has created] a complementary relationship between the Iraqi parliament members and Irani militias. The parliament members would allow Irani militias to legally use force on the Iraqi lands. It’s like a team that contains militias and parliament members who try as much as they can to maintain [their] current control of the Iraqi government. Most of the Iraqi parliament, more than 50% are in partnership with the Irani militias or have worked under Irani foreign policy.
The weak enforcement of the Iraqi government coupled with the support and power of the Iranian government has proven a deadly combination for the citizens of Iraq. In the interview, Ali spoke about how “After the first couple of days—the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th of October—the Iraqi forces and militias started to use snipers to kill the protestors,”. He also mentions the exponential death rate from the first few days, saying that “From the 1st of October through the 7th of October, more than 300 protestors died because of the snipers,”.
Soon after, the militias’ deadly tactics quickly expanded to include the use of smoke bombs as well. Ali recounted this tragic development, saying that, “One of my friends died on the 28th of October by a smoke grenade that was thrown at his body by the Iraqi security forces, and many, many other people have died from the grenades.” However, despite these horrific deaths, Ali also spoke of the sense of unity and determination that pulled the protestors together:
Protestors wash tear gas out of a young boy’s eyes. Ali al-Mikdam for Raise the Voices
“What pushed people to participate in the protest was the people who died. For example, when someone died in the protests, his friends and his family and his relatives started to participate in the protests because [someone they knew] died in the protest. So they want to complete the message he wanted to deliver by participating in the protest.
[However],the protests are not just about the protestors themselves, it’s also about millions of high school students who stopped going to schools and 500,000 university students who stopped going to university in solidarity with the protests.
It’s also about the families supporting the protests financially and logistically. Many ethnicities of Iraqis, from the Kurds in the north to the Christians in Mosul are supporting the protests.
Asking for democracy should be something normal. This situation shouldn’t be something real, the killing of all of those people. And they are ready to kill more and more for demanding their rights.”
Some of the protesters’ efforts at achieving governmental change have succeeded. On November 30th, 2019, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi submitted his resignation to the Iraqi parliament however, he, as well as several other high ranking officials directly involved in the violence against protestors, have still not been held accountable for their actions. Ali described the need for international action to achieve further accountability, saying,
“The whole world and the foreign policy of all countries should focus on the criminalization of the Prime Minister [Adil Abdul-Mahdi] and others who were part of killing the protestors. He did not present his resignation until hundreds of people died.”.
Ali also spoke about how Americans can help create the change needed in Iraq’s governmental structure, saying
“Getting the Iranian militias out of Iraq can be done, not by manipulation, but through communication with Iraqi-Americans. There are more than 100,000 [Iraqi-]American citizens and they can make a change by communicating with their Congress representative and telling them to support the Iraqi protests and the creation of the new election law, and to recognize that the Iraqi government has failed to protect the protestors and civilians in Iraq,”.
To help Ali’s mission, Raise the Voices created a petition on Change.org towards the US House of Representatives and Senate. In it, we ask that Congress issue a public statement in support of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s government and the creation of a fair election system in Iraq. We also ask Congress to pursue the criminalization of former Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and Iraqi Interior Minister Yassin Al-Yasiri for authorizing the shooting of protestors and enforce the Magnitsky Act on these individuals. (The Magnitsky Act is a global bill that allows the US government to sanction those it sees as human rights offenders and freeze their assets. You can sign this petition here to help create a better life for all Iraqi citizens.
Iraq is still a powder keg in the Middle East. It is the scene of geopolitical tensions between Iran — which seeks to solve its own crises and increase its regional influence — and the arrogance of U.S. imperialism, which maintains military bases in its territory to defend positions lost many years ago. The pandemic did not strike catastrophically, as expected because of Iraq’s long border with Iran and its weak health system, but the virus has left hundreds dead and three thousand infected. The reemergence of ISIS is taking advantage of the pandemic situation by recovering territory lost in the northeast of Iraq. But the fall in the price of oil is what is seriously choking the Iraqi economy, which is now in a state of disarray.
The youth demonstrations since last October have demanded a profound reform of the political regime, which has left them unemployed and in despair. At least 700 have lost their lives there, and thousands have been injured by the brutal repression of the police, the army, and Shiite militias — some of which are linked to Iran. The curfew due to the pandemic and the tensions between Iran and the United States during the first months of 2020 created an impasse by physically removing the demonstrators from the streets of Iraq while the price of oil hit a historic low, worsening the social precarization of young workers and popular sectors.
New Wave of Demonstrations
On the weekend of May 10–11, demonstrators resumed the struggle against the government in several parts of the country, a few days before the appointment of the new prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who is linked to the same political caste that monopolizes power. The demonstrations were spread throughout the country, where there were hard confrontations with the police in Baghdad, Kout, Najaf, Nassiriya Diwaniya, Samawa, and the Basra Oil Company in the south of Iraq.
Tahrir Square (Liberation in Arabic) in Baghdad is again the center of protesters’ gathering and organization. There were barricades on the al-Jumhuriyah bridge, which leads to the Green Zone, where the embassies are located — including the US embassy, which was bombed in December — and other key areas for the ruling class of the country. “People want the fall of the regime,” the youth shouted, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the police, who were not allowing the demonstration to advance over the bridge. There they were repressed with rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons.
In Basra, a city with important oil wells and a Shiite majority, the demonstration demanded the removal of Governor Assad al-Eidani — who in December had been nominated as prime minister but was rejected by the demonstrators — and two of his deputies, belonging to the Binaa faction that has links with the People’s Mobilization Units (PMF). In Basra, as the protesters approached the headquarters of an Iranian-backed militia called Thaa’r Allah, armed men guarding the building shot dead one protester, according to Al Jazeera.
The demands echoed the demonstrations of 2019: early elections under a new electoral law, accountability for the hundreds of people killed in the attacks on the movement, and the release of political prisoners; better public services, such as electricity or water, and work to counteract unemployment that reaches half of the young population.
Iraqi and Middle Eastern Perspectives
The appointment by the Iraqi parliament of the former head of Iraq’s secret services, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, was the result of six months of negotiations within the government, but above all of the need for an agreement between the United States and Iran to replace Adel Abdel Mahdi, who was overthrown by the previous demonstrations. Tehran agreed to support the former intelligence chief in exchange for unfreezing some of his assets, which had been attacked by sanctions, but above all because of the need to confront the country’s worst social crisis. For its part, the United States could be regaining lost political influence from the gaps that are opening within the Kataib Hezbollah militias and the People’s Mobilization Units. This represents a retreat of Iranian influence to the detriment of an advance of Iraqi militias seeking greater participation in the political arena.
Al-Kadhimi will have the challenge of solving problems that burden Iraq, problems that are common to all countries in the Middle East — the situation in Lebanon is an example of this. Oil is the center of the problem; its price is on the floor, oscillating between $25 and $30, and 90 percent of the Iraqi economy depends on royalties from black gold, turning the situation into a time bomb. Moreover, even though Iraq is the second-largest OPEC producer, its production is in the hands of imperialist companies such as British Petroleum, Exxon, and Shell, while their most important buyer is China.
On the other hand, young people under 25 represent 60 percent of the population, and half of them are unemployed. Those fortunate enough to work in the public sector — which employs a large proportion of the workforce — are preparing to receive wage cuts of up to 35 percent. The government raised $1.5 billion from oil exports in April, while it needed $5 billion to pay salaries (for 4.5 million workers), pensions, and other expenses. The situation hangs by a thread and is unsustainable, as during May the government failed to pay pensions, according to Kamran Karadaghi, the former chief of staff. This cut could give rise to further demonstrations within the week.
On Saturday, to cool off the demonstrations, al-Kadhimi tried to take some measures such as releasing detained protesters, promising to hold the perpetrators accountable for the killing of at least 700 people during the months-long rallies. And reflecting his attempt at “dialogue,” the repression was “light” compared to the 15,000 injured last October. He also ordered an immediate revision of the electoral law to begin the process of building a new electoral framework. Finally, he reinstated the popular army general, Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, revered by the Iraqi public for his role in the war against ISIS, appointing him commander of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service. His dismissal in September 2019 was one of the triggers for the October protests. It hardly had any lasting effect. In his speech on Wednesday he promised to punish anyone who attacks the protesters, in the midst of an attempt to advance a new strategic agreement with the United States.
Iraq no longer has significant dollar reserves to deal with the economic situation, pressing for foreign funding, which means more austerity and poverty. If in October with a high-priced barrel of oil, protesters were demanding a bigger slice of the pie, what will happen now that the pie has shrunk?
The pandemic in Iraq hit the economy more than it did in terms of health. The combination of shrinking demand with overproduction of oil — imposed by Saudi Arabia for its “miniwar” on prices with Russia — and the global recession, caused the Iraqi economic model to collapse, but will impact the economy of the entire Middle East.
The demonstrations in Lebanon and Iraq show that the situation of class struggle that ran through all of 2019 is not over, but seems to be heating up for new confrontations.