This is the second time the consulate has been attacked in a week.
Demonstrators take part in a protest over corruption, lack of jobs, and poor services, in Iraq. (photo credit: THAIER AL-SUDANI/REUTERS)
Iraqis scaled the wall around the Iranian consulate in Karbala and raised an Iraqi flag over it. They said only the Iraqi flag should fly high in the sky and that Iranians should be ejected. Other protesters tried to burn the wall around the compound.
This is the second time the consulate has been attacked in a week; it was previously targeted on October 26.
Protests in Iraq have reached their crescendo after a month in which 250 demonstrators have been killed. The Iraqi Prime Minister has been pressured to resign. Protesters have targeted the political party offices of Iranian-linked parties and militias. The militias, known as Hashd al-Shaabi, have been alleged to use snipers to shoot demonstrators. In addition, reports indicate that Iran has used a heavy hand to try to suppress Iraqi protesters by working through political allies such as the Badr Organization and Fatah Alliance head Hadi al-Amiri.
Iran sent its IRGC Quds Force commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, to Iraq last month to help advise the government on the crackdown. Protesters have alleged that an Iranian hidden hand was trying to stop them, while Iran’s clerics last Friday claimed that the US and Israel are fueling Iraqi protests. Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has condemned all foreign interference while political leader Muqtada al-Sadr has tried to broker a deal that will see him get credit for the protests and for stopping them.
But the protesters are unfazed. They have occupied central Baghdad’s Tahrir Square and laid siege to the Iranian consulate in the holy city of Karbala. The consulate is around 3 km. from Karbala’s famous golden domed shrine to Imam Husayn and the exquisite al-Abbas mosque. It is on a street known as Iskan Street near a new office building.
Karbala has been the scene of clashes between protesters and security forces, or Iranian-backed militias. On the night of October 28, protesters said they were shot at repeatedly and up to 14 were killed. This has caused anger against Iran and perceptions that the Islamic Republic ordered the shootings. On October 3, the protesters called for Iranian elements to be removed from Iraq as they targeted the consulate. Others tried to light a wall on fire.