Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is seen at a rally in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq's prime minister says he will return half of his annual salary to the government's treasury in a symbolic effort to balance the standard of living between the nation's rich and poor. Image Credit: AP

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki recently refused the demands of protesters for drastic changes in the political process, cancelling the elections and dissolving the constitution.

He claims that Iraq has seen a marked progress in all provinces, most importantly in regard to the provision of funds for the ration card items.

The Council of deputies will evaluate Al Maliki’s achievements through a period of 100 days to see if he’s right. What’s interesting is that he says that the state will most definitely protect any protesters, as it is committed to protecting public funds and property.

He pointed out that the government has dealt with the demonstrations in a civilised, democratic and constitutional manner! What about those martyred while demonstrating on February 25? And why did the security guards use excessive force leaving three journalists injured?

Last Friday, the government used the same methods adopted by Mubarak to cut off roads thus preventing protestors to arrive at Tahrir Square, in the heart of Baghdad — they cut off access to cross the bridge towards the Green Zone, which houses the headquarters of a puppet government and the largest US embassy in the world persists.

All heads of tribes were warned of dire punishments if any member of the tribe participates in these hostile protests and the Baathists were the blamed for the mess.

The Iraqi police surrounded the headquarters of the Communist party because some of its members were active participants in these protests and also coordinated with left wing parties. They demanded that the communist party should evacuate the area which they control during the American occupation.

This great movement carried out by the young people who have had access to Tahrir Square, paved a way for a poetry festival and manifested in public art and outdoor collective songs — thousands of participants demand freedom and independence and accuse the government of looting the fortunes of the country.

Stark contrast

Despite strict security measures imposed by the occupation government, including imposing a curfew on cars and motorcycles and the closure of bridges republic (Sinak), which is the only access point for the Green Zone, it also prevented citizens from walking and closed the ports to prevent the numbers coming in as well as cordoned the areas with barbed wires.

Around 500 government spies were left to roam along with the protesters warning them to evacuate Tahrir Square or to face dire consequences of death and killing without any mercy or pity.

People’s Revolution wants a regime change ousting the US occupation and its political games in the region. The Iraqi people have realised the deception that they are facing by welcoming the US Army and the false promises they got of democracy, human rights and economic prosperity.

The Iraqis have now discovered after eight years that these promises were a mirage — which has turned Iraq into a failed state governed by a set of sectarian and ethnic parties. This government couldn’t even live upto to its promise providing basic services like education or medical to its people.

What is certain is that this ‘new Iraq’ is very different from all other Arab countries. For the simple reason that it is occupied. There is a presence of more than fifty thousand American troops with foreign security on its territory, and it is within the fortified military base. There is also the debilitating impact of corruption and unemployment.

On Friday, February 4, hundreds of thousands of protestors walked calling for their basic rights that is taken for granted by others. On the ‘Day of Dignity’ rebel Iraqis raised flags and slogans shouting: ‘Liar, liar Nouri Al Maliki’, ‘Yes, to democracy and fighting corruption’, ‘Where is the oil money?’ ‘O Maliki … rubbish commander’, ‘People want to drop the puppet government’ with stark images of a finger amputated and writing in blue ink: ‘We regret’, referring to the farce called elections in Iraq.

Iraq is a rich country. Its annual income is more than eighty billion dollars from oil exports, however, the majority of the population live below the poverty line.

On the other hand, the privileged members of parliament get monthly salaries that are on par with or even more than their counterparts in Sweden, Switzerland and the US not to mention income through foul means.

Al Maliki and his group are now convinced that the Iraqis are against them, especially those who made fun at the injustices that were done to the Shiites and respect given to the “Religious References”.

They cannot justify that “Saddam followers” are scarecrows, especially the Muslim Shiite Arabs in the South who had been killed during Saddam’s regime.

Most of the deputies of this farcical Parliament were not elected but were selected. Bahaa Alaragi revealed to the official channel Al Baghdadiya that only 16 deputies were instated in the parliament out of the 325 deputies elected.

The revolution will inevitably triumph in Iraq like in other Arab countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and many more similar revolutions are expected in more Arab countries in the near future.

The D-Day for Iraqis is Friday, March 11 in Tahrir Square in Baghdad. There’s been a clarion call for the entire country to march, protest and get heard on what they call the “Right of Friday.”

Shakir Noori is a senior journalist and writer based in Paris and Dubai.