The US website Stratfor deals with mounting protests in Iraq and says it threatens to topple the government, noting that it has grown over the past week as Iraqis suffer long-term grievances about corruption and economic need. If protests increase in intensity and scale, the government says, it could bring down the government.
There have been major unrest in Iraq's major cities over the past three days largely in Shi'ite areas in the center and south of the country.
Although the demonstrations were caused by a variety of political and economic issues, they have since merged into a broad movement and taken a violent turn.
The clashes between protesters, who chanted slogans against the government, Iran and security forces, on Friday, killed more than 40 people and wounded hundreds.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said in a speech to Iraqis that there are "no magic solutions" to solve their problems, and called for more time to resolve the chronic issues in the country, most notably with regard to corruption and unemployment.
In an effort to calm public anger, Abdul Mahdi announced a new pay scheme for poor families and the dismissal of 1,000 government employees accused of corruption, among other measures.
|Sadr calls on government to resign (Reuters)|
Sistani and Sadr
The website says that these promises have done little to calm the situation, adding that this is not surprising given that the basic problems in Iraq continue unresolved despite similar assurances during previous periods of unrest.
For his part, the top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on Friday condemned the security response to the protests, and urged the prime minister to establish a committee to fight corruption.
Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr also issued a call for the government to resign, saying the "Sairoun" bloc in parliament would stop participating in parliament until the government enters real reform, echoing his long-standing call for anti-corruption measures.
The site says the turmoil caused by economic and political concerns is not new in Iraq, but its current outbreak is characterized by many unique aspects that indicate the risks it poses to the continuity of the current government.
|What distinguishes these protests is that they are spontaneous (Anatolia)|
He explains that the current protests are different from the economically motivated demonstrations of previous years, especially in size and scope.
These protests do not appear to have a central leader, making it more difficult to control, both by the Iraqi government and foreign actors.
Although there are signs of pro-protest social media tags that may have originated in Saudi Arabia, given the diversity of the social and political spectrum in Iraq, it is unlikely that any single external representative will be able to benefit from the current unrest.
The site stresses that these protests come at a time when the Iraqi government suffers from a special weakness, there is a big difference between its factions, especially among the Shiite elite, on how to respond to these protests, especially since none of the nearby solutions under consideration will not resolve chronic issues Long-term that has been aggravating for years.
The website predicts that the resignation of Abdul-Mahdi's government may occur sooner or later, and that a wave of unrest may erupt as the first anniversary of his inauguration approaches on October 25.
US facilities and other foreign companies, especially in the oil and gas sector, could become targets, with pro-Iranian factions in the political and security forces willing to take advantage of the unrest.
He adds that although this did not happen during the current round of protests, foreign companies were attacked during previous periods of unrest.
The PMUs can play a key role in the final outcome, but it is unlikely that the PMU will be ready to quell the protests because the majority of its members are grassroots participants.
But their links to Iran and their formal integration into the Iraqi security apparatus make the options open about their expected reactions.
The website concludes that ISIS and other jihadi groups could benefit from the current unrest, especially if Iraqi security forces focus on containing them.