Anti-government protesters take cover while Iraq security forces fire during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 4, 2019. (AP)

November 30, 2019

On Thursday, November 28, 2019, Iraqi security forces shot dead at least 35 protesters. The demonstrators stormed and torched the Iranian consulate in the holy city of Najaf. Reuters reported that this incident “could mark a turning point in the uprising against the Tehran-backed authorities.” 

“At least 29 people died in the southern city of Nassiriya when troops opened fire on demonstrators who blocked a bridge before dawn on Thursday and later gathered outside a police station. Police and medical sources also said dozens of others were wounded. Four others were killed in Baghdad, where security forces opened fire with live ammunition and rubber bullets against protesters near a bridge over the Tigris river, the sources said, and two died in clashes in Najaf. In Nassiriya thousands of mourners took to the streets, defying a curfew to bury their dead after the mass shooting,” Reuters reported adding: 

“The bloodshed that followed was one of the most violent days since the uprising began at the start of October, with anti-corruption demonstrations that swelled into a revolt against authorities seen by young demonstrators as stooges of Tehran…The protesters, overwhelmingly Shi’ite, accused the Iraqi authorities of turning against their own people to defend Iran.”

The massacre in the city of Nassiriya, where At least 29 people were killed and dozens were wounded was commanded by General Jamil Shummary, a senior military commander in Dhi Qar province. 

Iraq’s Prime Minister, Abdel Mehdi, had ordered military chiefs to deploy across the south on Thursday morning, sending Jamil Shummary to the city of Nasiriyah. Later that day Iraqi state-run TV announced that Abdel Mehdi had withdrawn Shummary from the post. 

In 2013 Jamil Shummary was the commander of police forces in Diyala province, where camp Ashraf, the 26-year home of the main Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI-MEK) was located. On September 1, 2013, the Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, a close ally of the Iranian regime launched an attack on camp Ashraf and massacred 52 MEK members and abducted 7 of them, including 6 women. At the time, only 100 people remained at Camp Ashraf to facilitate the sale of the residents’ properties.  

With the help and full cooperation of Jamil Shummary, the assailants performed reconnaissance activities several weeks before the attack, and later on the day of attack Iraqi forces, under command of Jamil Shummary gave lodgings to the attackers and opened the way for them to attack the residents, who were all unarmed and defenseless. 

On October 18, 2019, the US Department of State published a report titled “Iranian Regime Malign Activities During Negotiations with Iran and During JCPOA”. The report listed the malign activities of the Iranian regime from 2011 to 2017, including the Ashraf massacre.   

“On September 1, 2013, an attack by Iranian proxies Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) on Camp Ashraf in Iraq, led to the deaths of 50 members of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq, or MEK.  Press reports claim members of the QF not only planned the attack but also played a direct combat role in it. The QF, along with KH and AAH members, also abducted seven MeK members and smuggled them back to Iran, according to the press.  The missing seven members haven’t been seen or heard from since the attack.” the report reads in part.

On September 2017 on the fourth anniversary of Ashraf massacre, in a ceremony in the presence of a number of international personalities and a large group of PMOI-MEK members in Tirana, Iranian Resistance’s President-elect Maryam Rajavi said: “The mass execution of PMOI members was the hidden half of the regime’s retreat in the nuclear talks and the JCPOA. Before the start of the talks with P5+1 and signing of an agreement in November 2013, the regime resorted to the massacre in Ashraf…the massacre in Ashraf, however, does not fade in the past. Like the 1988 massacre, it is directly tied to the Resistance, and freedom and human rights in Iran. The dossier on Ashraf must be opened, and Khamenei, Maliki and others involved in this massacre must face justice.”


About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.