Speaking at IPI on April 7th, Ad Melkert, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, identified three key issues fueling demonstrations in Iraq and elsewhere in the region: the need for better services; more jobs, particularly for young people; and a way to end corruption, which he said is endemic in Iraq.
Mr. Melkert noted that the region has experienced 50-100 demonstrations since mid-February.
Mr. Melkert said the demonstrations around these issues had the merit of bringing Iraqis together “across the lines of community, sex, political affiliation.”
“And that is something that is a new phenomenon in a country that, as a consequence, not only has now a constitutional system, but also sees the other sides, the expression by civil society, by citizens, in a rather unorganized and, here and there, quite suppressed way,” he said.
“But, nevertheless, that genie is out of the bottle,” he said. “And the government knows and acknowledges that it will have to deal with it.”
The event, titled “Iraq in Transition: Postconflict Challenges and Possibilities,” was moderated by IPI President Terje Rød-Larsen.