You remember Iraq, right? That first foothold of “revolution” in the middle east, imposed from without by the United States? They must be a stable bed of prosperity and relative calm amidst all the violence and confusion of revolution going on in that region today, right? I mean, Iraq has had an almost eight-year head start on freedom and self-governance, so that should make them way ahead of the game by now, shouldn’t it?
BAGHDAD — Iraq’s “day of rage” on Friday ended with nearly 20 protesters killed in clashes with security forces. Dozens more were wounded, and several local government offices lay smoldering and ransacked.
But in the floodlit calm of Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, where baton-wielding soldiers had chased down protesters just hours earlier, two high-ranking Iraqi officials took their seats at leather chairs and, with cameras rolling, discussed the day’s events with a reporter for state-run television.
Their alfresco round table was among the Iraqi government’s attempts to demonstrate that it was in control after a string of violent demonstrations convulsed the country, challenging the tenuous security situation. The rallies in more than 10 cities were modeled after the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, and they brought together a chorus of anger at local and national governments. The protests were the largest public outpourings in Iraq since last summer, when thousands raged against the country’s decaying electricity grid and regular blackouts.
The country you paid a trillion dollars to liberate, pacify and bring democracy to: still not pacified or democratic.