Iraq’s Tribes Grow Role in Protests

12/12/2019 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – The ongoing protests in Iraq have grown to include more defining features, including a stronger tribal presence in areas controlled by the Central Government. The violent response by the government towards protesters has not decreased the fervor of the demonstrators, who are asking for an end to corruption and equal rights for all.

The tribes in the south of the country are increasing their role within the protests, including by attempting to fill a security gap that has resulted. Kidnappings of activists are on the rise, and protesters found dead in unusual places are becoming a common feature. The government has a role in both of these categories, but also unknown parties are believed to be responsible for some incidents. The government has a long record of being unable to control the tribes, who historically fill any gaps that the government fails to provide.

While the protests continue to inspire unprecedented hope for Iraq’s Christian community, the increased role of the tribes in the protests do generate some concern. The early 2000s was defined by tribal violence that resulted from a weak government, prompting an early wave of Christian immigration. It is unclear what role the tribes will have in Iraq as the protests continue. Because of immigration, many Christians do not have the protection of a tribe should the situation move into a negative direction.

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