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Protests in the Middle East
January 21, 2020, 3pm UK time

The turn of the year saw an escalation in violence between Iran and the United States, focused on developments in Iraq. Following a series of tit-for-tat strikes, US President Donald Trump raised the stakes by ordering the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, head of the IRGC’s external arm. After firing ballistic missiles at bases hosting US troops, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei emphasised that the real revenge would be the expulsion of the United States from the Middle East.

These events interrupted the development of a new atmosphere of popular self-assertion in parts of the Middle East towards the end of 2019. In Lebanon and Iraq, months of demonstrations against economic stagnation and the corruption associated with a sectarian power-allocation system forced the resignation of prime ministers in both countries -- as protesters adopted an increasingly anti-Iranian tone and Tehran encouraged Shia allies to back the existing system that institutionalises their influence. Iran also saw demonstrators on its own streets objecting to petrol price rises, who it brutally but effectively quashed.

With an ongoing risk of military confrontation and an intensified battle for influence across the region, especially in Baghdad and Beirut, an Oxford Analytica expert team will answer your questions on how events are likely to develop – and the impact on protesters’ calls for peaceful, democratic change.

Jan 21, 2020 03:00 PM in London

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