The political and social crisis in Iraq has escalated in recent days as high temperatures, widespread protests and rolling blackouts engulfed the oil-rich south of the country.
Iran, for example, which normally supplies about a third of Iraq’s gas and electricity, has drastically cut energy supplies to the country in what some analysts say is an attempt to make the country pay millions in outstanding bills.
“The Iraqi government is in a very bad situation because of corruption, random planning and continued dependence on Iran for power generation,” Ayad Khalaf of the southern Al-Karkh Distribution Co. told The Independent.
“This is the beginning of a summer of discontent that goes back to 2018. I think we’re going to have more protests very soon, especially if we have another isolation from COVID-19. If people are stuck at home without electricity, it will only increase the anger.
That said, there are fears that this year’s energy problems will lead to a repeat of 2018, when widespread protests brought the country to a standstill, overthrew the government and saw hundreds of protesters shot by police and militia fighters.