OIR Not Affected by Green Zone Protests

Iraqi protesters accessing Baghdad’s Green Zone over the weekend did not impact the Pentagon’s counter-ISIS operations, spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said during a Monday briefing. Supporters of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed the area Saturday, but left the next day after issuing demands for political reform, Reuters reported Sunday. The protesters, according to Reuters, said they would return by the end of the week. “They do not seem to be interested in us,” Davis said. “This is domestic politics.” Davis said Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reshuffled his cabinet in an attempt to address the protestors’ concerns, and the Pentagon doesn’t see the protests as a fundamental threat to the Iraqi government. But the Pentagon has been paying attention to the recent discord there. During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last Thursday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told lawmakers the political discord in Iraq is creating an “added burden and distraction” for Al-Abadi’s government. “That’s a serious concern to us because the integrity of the Iraqi state is an important part of the end state our strategy seeks,” he said.