Weekly News

The major uprising in Basra and southern Iraq is what the world should be worrying about in the Middle East right now

September 07,2018 22:15

The current protests in Iraq are the most serious seen in the country for years, and are taking place at the heart of some of the world's largest oilfields. The Iraqi government headquarters in Basra was set ablaze, as were the offices of those parties ...and more »


The current protests in Iraq are the most serious seen in the country for years, and are taking place at the heart of some of the world’s largest oilfields. The Iraqi government headquarters in Basra was set ablaze, as were the offices of those parties and militias blamed by local people for their wretched living conditions. Protesters have blockaded and closed down Iraq’s main sea port at Umm Qasr, through which it imports most of its grain and other supplies. Mortar shells have been fired into the Green Zone in Baghdad for the first time in years. At least 10 people have been shot dead by security forces over the last four days in a failed effort to quell the unrest.
If these demonstrations had been happening in 2011 during the Arab Spring then they would be topping the news agenda around the world. As it is, the protests have so far received very limited coverage in international media, which is focusing on what might happen in the future in Idlib, Syria, rather than on events happening now in Iraq.
Iraq has once again fallen off the media map at the very moment when it is being engulfed by a crisis that could destabilise the whole country. The disinterest of foreign governments and news outlets has ominous parallels with their comatose posture five years ago when they ignored the advance of Isis before it captured Mosul. President Obama even dismissed, in words he came to regret, Isis as resembling a junior basketball team playing out of their league.
World news in pictures

1/50 7 September 2018
Displaced Syrians take part in a protest against the regime and its ally Russia at a camp for displaced people in Kafr Lusin near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey in Syria's northern Idlib province
AFP/Getty
2/50 6 September 2018
An aerial view of houses damaged by a landslide in Atsuma town, Hokkaido prefecture, after an earthquake hit the northern Japanese island. Rescuers scrabbled through mud for survivors after the powerful earthquake sent hillsides crashing down onto homes, killing at least nine people and leaving dozens of people missing
AFP/Getty
3/50 5 September 2018
US Capitol Police arrest a protestor as Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the second day of his US Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing to be an Associate Justice on the US Supreme Court. President Donald Trump's newest Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is expected to face punishing questioning from Democrats this week over his endorsement of presidential immunity and his opposition to abortion
AFP/Getty
4/50 4 September 2018
Damaged traffic boards and telecommunication relay poles after they were brought down by strong winds caused by typhoon Jebi in Osaka. The strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years made landfall on September 4, the country's weather agency said, bringing violent winds and heavy rainfall that prompted evacuation warnings
AFP/Getty
5/50 3 September 2018
Myanmar journalist Kyaw Soe Oo is escorted by police after being sentenced by a court to jail in Yangon. Two Reuters journalists were jailed for seven years for breaching Myanmar's official secrets act during their reporting of the Rohingya crisis, a judge said, a case that has drawn outrage as an attack on media freedom
AFP/Getty
6/50 2 September 2018
A Somali soldier walks near the wreckage of vehicles at the scene of a blast outside the compound of a district headquarters in the capital Mogadishu. A Somali police officer says a number of people were wounded after a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at a checkpoint outside the headquarters after being stopped by security forces
AP
7/50 1 September 2018
A Utair-operated Boeing 737-800 which skidded off the runway and caught fire during landing, at Sochi international airport, in the Russian Black Sea resort. Russia's transportation minister says a supervisor at the airport died during the emergency response after a landing airliner careered off the end of the runway, into a riverbed and caught fire. There were no deaths reported among the 164 passengers and six crew members aboard the Utair Boeing 737, but the Russian health ministry said 18 people were injured. The fire was extinguished within eight minutes
AP
8/50 31 August 2018
Mourners attend Aretha Franklin's funeral at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit
AFP/Getty
9/50 30 August 2018
Firefighters watch on as flames leap from a giant factory fire in the inner Melbourne suburb of West Footscray - More than 120 firefighters are fighting the fire, with 30 trucks and cherry picker aerial appliances on the scene which is sending large plumes of smoke across the city.
AFP/Getty
10/50 29 August 2018
People are evacuated after flooding in Swar township, Myanmar
Reuters
11/50 28 August 2018
President Hassan Rouhani speaks at the Iranian Parliament in the capital Tehran. It was the first time Rouhani had been summoned by parliament in his five years in power, with MPs demanding answers on unemployment, rising prices and the collapsing value of the rial, which has lost more than half its value since April
AFP/Getty
12/50 27 August 2018
A police officer walks by the front of a Chicago Pizza and GLHF Game Bar at the scene of fatal shooting at The Jacksonville Landing. A gunman opened fire at a video game tournament killing multiple people and then fatally shooting himself in a rampage that wounded several others
AP
13/50 26 August 2018
Migrants disembark from the Italian Coast Guard ship 'Diciotti' in the port of Catania, Italy. The vessel arrived with 177 migrants on board, but the Italian Interior Ministry denied them to disembark, calling EU member states to find a solution on how to distribute them. On 22 August, 27 unaccompanied minors were let off from the ship, assisted by Red Cross, UNHCR and Save the Children
EPA
14/50 25 August 2018
Rohingya refugees during a protest march after attending a ceremony to remember the first anniversary of a military crackdown that prompted a massive exodus of people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia
AFP/Getty
15/50 24 August 2018
US President Donald Trump sits with children during a tour of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio
AFP/Getty
16/50 23 August 2018
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
EPA
17/50 22 August 2018
High waves hit Jeju Island, South Korea, as powerful Typhoon Soulik gradually approaches the Korean Peninsula
EPA
18/50 21 August 2018
A Palestinian man throws his child in the air following morning prayers marking the first day of Eid al-Adha celebrations on the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem's Old City. Eid al-Adha is the holiest of the two Muslims holidays celebrated each year, it marks the yearly Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj) to visit Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. Muslims slaughter a sacrificial animal and split the meat into three parts, one for the family, one for friends and relatives, and one for the poor and needy
Reuters
19/50 20 August 2018
South Korean Lee Keum-seom, 92, meets with her North Korean son Ri Sung Chol, 71, during a separated family reunion meeting at the Mount Kumgang resort on the North's southeastern coast. Dozens of elderly and frail South Koreans met their Northern relatives for the first time since the peninsula and their families were divided by war nearly seven decades ago
AFP/Getty
20/50 19 August 2018
The flag of the United Nations flying at half-mast to mark the death of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, at the European headquarters in Geneva. Kofi Annan died on 18 August, aged 80
EPA
21/50 18 August 2018
Newly appointed Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan inspects the guard of honor on his arrival in the Prime Minister House during a ceremony in Islamabad. Imran Khan was sworn in at a ceremony in Islamabad, ushering in a new political era as the World Cup cricket hero officially took the reins of power in the nuclear-armed country
PID/AFP/Getty
22/50 17 August 2018
Muslim pilgrims walk out after the Friday prayer at the Grand mosque ahead of annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Reuters
23/50 16 August 2018
A man wades through flooded water in Kochi, Kerala state, India. According to reports, the region is on a high alert with schools and offices been closed due to the rising water levels of Periyar river after the gates of the Idukki reservoir were opened. The area has been hit by heavy rains that caused floods and reportedly killed at least 65 people
EPA
24/50 15 August 2018
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets schoolchildren after his speech as part of India's 72nd Independence Day celebrations which marks the 71st anniversary of the end of British colonial rule, at the Red Fort in New Delhi
AFP/Getty
25/50 14 August 2018
A large section of the Morandi viaduct upon which the A10 motorway runs collapsed in Genoa, Italy. Both sides of the highway fell. Around 10 vehicles are involved in the collapse, rescue sources said. The viaduct gave way amid torrential rain. It runs over shopping centres, factories, some homes, the Genoa-Milan railway line and the Polcevera river
EPA
26/50 13 August 2018
Turkish President Erdogan addresses the 10th annual Ambassadors' Conference in Ankara. Global markets have reacted fearfully to Turkey's financial crash, which Turkish President Erdogan blames on a "political, underhand plot" by Donald Trump's USA. Last week the US doubled steel and aluminium tariffs against Turkey amidst diplomatic tensions over the latter's detaining of an American pastor
Turkish Presidential Press Service/AFP/Getty
27/50 12 August 2018
NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 12, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. The probe will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth.
NASA via Getty
28/50 11 August 2018
An activist confronts Virginia State Troopers in riot gear during a rally on the campus of The University of Virginia one-year after the violent white nationalist rally that left one person dead and dozens injured in Charlottesville, Virginia
AFP/Getty
29/50 10 August 2018
A man holds his son before Friday prayers at an evacuation centre in Sambik Bangkol village, in northern Lombok on West Nusa Tenggara province
AFP/Getty
30/50 9 August 2018
A rescuers stands next to a damaged tent in a flooded camping as storms and heavy rains sweep across France on August 9, 2018 in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, southern France. - The bad weather caused large power cuts and a man who was working in a summer camp went missing according to the gendarmerie
AFP/Getty
31/50 8 August 2018
A Palestinian girl smiles as she waits to receive aids at a United Nations food distribution centre in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza
AFP/Getty
32/50 7 August 2018
An Israeli soldier rides an armoured vehicle during an army drill after the visit of Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel
Reuters
33/50 6 August 2018
Usable items are salvaged from a home destroyed in an earthquake in North Lombok, Indonesia. The powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing a number of people and shaking neighboring Bali, as authorities on Monday said thousands of houses were damaged and the death toll could climb
AP
34/50 5 August 2018
Accident investigators and rescue personnel work at the wreckage of a Junkers JU52 aircraft in Flims, after it crashed into Piz Segnas, a 3,000-metre (10,000-foot) peak in eastern Switzerland. Twenty people were confirmed dead after the vintage World War II aircraft crashed into a Swiss mountainside, police reports said. The Junker JU52 HB-HOT aircraft, built in Germany in 1939 and now a collectors item, belongs to JU-Air, a company with links to the Swiss air force, the ATS news agency reported
AFP/Getty
35/50 4 August 2018
Members of different security forces stand guard and take evidence after an explosion targeted President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela. The Venezuelan Information Minister, Jorge Rodriguez, confirmed that President Nicolas Maduro was the victim of an attack with 'drone-type flying devices that contained an explosive charge', and that he escaped unharmed from the incident, which occurred during a military ceremony in Caracas
EPA
36/50 3 August 2018
People in Mbare celebrate after officials announced the re-election of President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in Harare, Zimbabwe. The election was the first since Robert Mugabe was ousted in a military coup last year, and featured a close race between Mnangagwa and opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC Alliance). Deadly clashes broke out earlier in the week following the release of parliamentary election results, amid allegations of fraud by Chamisa and MDC supporters
Getty
37/50 2 August 2018
A supporter of the ruling ZANU-PF walks past a burnt vehicle at the party's offices a day after the clashes between security forces and opposition protesters in Harare, Zimbabwe
Reuters
38/50 1 August 2018
A ceremony takes place in a hangar, to mark the return of 55 sets of remains of American troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. The ceremony was held five days after a US airplane transported the remains to South Korea from North Korea in a move expected to facilitate ongoing efforts to promote peace on the peninsula
EPA
39/50 31 July 2018
Veronika Nikulshina, one of four members of Russia's Pussy Riot protest group who were jailed for 15 days for staging a pitch invasion during the football World Cup final and were detained again after their release on July 30, is escorted by a police officer before a court hearing in Moscow
Reuters
40/50 30 July 2018
A relative of a passenger of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 reads the safety report that has concluded that the planes controls were deliberately manipulated and that illegal interference by a third party cannot be ruled out. Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people on board en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on 8 March 2014
Reuters
41/50 29 July 2018
Palestinian activist and campaigner Ahed Tamimi kisses the tombstone of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at his mausoleum in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, after she was released from prison following an eight-month sentence for slapping two Israeli soldiers
AFP/Getty
42/50 28 July 2018
Zimbabwe's incumbent President and candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa arrives for his closing presidential campaign rally in Harare, two days ahead of the elections
AFP/Getty
43/50 27 July 2018
A house burns during the Carr fire in Redding, California. One firefighter has died and at least two others have been injured as wind-whipped flames tore through the region
Getty
44/50 26 July 2018
Supporters of Pakistan's cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party, celebrate in Karachi, a day after a general election. Imran Khan claimed victory in the country's tense general election marred by allegations of "blatant" rigging by rival parties. A visibly tired Khan cut a conciliatory tone in a wide-ranging address to the nation following the controversial contest
AFP/Getty
45/50 25 July 2018
A man who was injured in a suspected suicide bomb attack outside a polling station, receives medical treatment at a hospital in Quetta. At least 25 people were killed and 30 injured in the incident. Polling stations in Pakistan opened for the general election for around 105 million constituents. Voters will have to choose from 11,000 candidates to elect 272 members of the Parliament for the next term. These elections are the second in Pakistan's history in which a government was able to complete its term to make way for another government after being ruled by military dictators for half of the 71 years of its existence since its founding in 1947
EPA
46/50 24 July 2018
A woman reacts as she tries to find her dog, following a wildfire at the village of Mati, near Athens, Greece. At least 60 people are thought to have been killed
Reuters
47/50 23 July 2018
A house is threatened by a huge blaze during a wildfire in Kineta, near Athens. More than 300 firefighters, five aircraft and two helicopters were mobilised to tackle the "extremely difficult" situation due to strong gusts of wind, Athens fire chief Achille Tzouvaras said
AFP/Getty
48/50 22 July 2018
Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows a smoke plume rising across the border in Quneitra in southwestern Syria, as rebels destroy their arms stocks prior to their departure
Getty
49/50 21 July 2018
A Syrian child looks through the window of a bus as displaced people from the Quneitra province wait at the Morek crossing point to be transfered in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, northwestern Syria. The transfers come under a surrender deal agreed this week between Russia and Syrian rebels in Quneitra province that will see the sensitive zone fall back under state control. Rebels will hand over territory they control in Quneitra and the neighbouring buffer zone with the Israeli-occupied Golan, a war monitor and a rebel
AFP/Getty
50/50 20 July 2018
Men push a car past a flooded street in Ahmadabad, India. Hundreds of people have been rescued from flood affected areas in the past week as incessant rains continue to lash Gujarat state
AP
1/50 7 September 2018
Displaced Syrians take part in a protest against the regime and its ally Russia at a camp for displaced people in Kafr Lusin near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey in Syria's northern Idlib province
AFP/Getty
2/50 6 September 2018
An aerial view of houses damaged by a landslide in Atsuma town, Hokkaido prefecture, after an earthquake hit the northern Japanese island. Rescuers scrabbled through mud for survivors after the powerful earthquake sent hillsides crashing down onto homes, killing at least nine people and leaving dozens of people missing
AFP/Getty
3/50 5 September 2018
US Capitol Police arrest a protestor as Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the second day of his US Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing to be an Associate Justice on the US Supreme Court. President Donald Trump's newest Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is expected to face punishing questioning from Democrats this week over his endorsement of presidential immunity and his opposition to abortion
AFP/Getty
4/50 4 September 2018
Damaged traffic boards and telecommunication relay poles after they were brought down by strong winds caused by typhoon Jebi in Osaka. The strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years made landfall on September 4, the country's weather agency said, bringing violent winds and heavy rainfall that prompted evacuation warnings
AFP/Getty
5/50 3 September 2018
Myanmar journalist Kyaw Soe Oo is escorted by police after being sentenced by a court to jail in Yangon. Two Reuters journalists were jailed for seven years for breaching Myanmar's official secrets act during their reporting of the Rohingya crisis, a judge said, a case that has drawn outrage as an attack on media freedom
AFP/Getty
6/50 2 September 2018
A Somali soldier walks near the wreckage of vehicles at the scene of a blast outside the compound of a district headquarters in the capital Mogadishu. A Somali police officer says a number of people were wounded after a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at a checkpoint outside the headquarters after being stopped by security forces
AP
7/50 1 September 2018
A Utair-operated Boeing 737-800 which skidded off the runway and caught fire during landing, at Sochi international airport, in the Russian Black Sea resort. Russia's transportation minister says a supervisor at the airport died during the emergency response after a landing airliner careered off the end of the runway, into a riverbed and caught fire. There were no deaths reported among the 164 passengers and six crew members aboard the Utair Boeing 737, but the Russian health ministry said 18 people were injured. The fire was extinguished within eight minutes
AP
8/50 31 August 2018
Mourners attend Aretha Franklin's funeral at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit
AFP/Getty
9/50 30 August 2018
Firefighters watch on as flames leap from a giant factory fire in the inner Melbourne suburb of West Footscray - More than 120 firefighters are fighting the fire, with 30 trucks and cherry picker aerial appliances on the scene which is sending large plumes of smoke across the city.
AFP/Getty
10/50 29 August 2018
People are evacuated after flooding in Swar township, Myanmar
Reuters
11/50 28 August 2018
President Hassan Rouhani speaks at the Iranian Parliament in the capital Tehran. It was the first time Rouhani had been summoned by parliament in his five years in power, with MPs demanding answers on unemployment, rising prices and the collapsing value of the rial, which has lost more than half its value since April
AFP/Getty
12/50 27 August 2018
A police officer walks by the front of a Chicago Pizza and GLHF Game Bar at the scene of fatal shooting at The Jacksonville Landing. A gunman opened fire at a video game tournament killing multiple people and then fatally shooting himself in a rampage that wounded several others
AP
13/50 26 August 2018
Migrants disembark from the Italian Coast Guard ship 'Diciotti' in the port of Catania, Italy. The vessel arrived with 177 migrants on board, but the Italian Interior Ministry denied them to disembark, calling EU member states to find a solution on how to distribute them. On 22 August, 27 unaccompanied minors were let off from the ship, assisted by Red Cross, UNHCR and Save the Children
EPA
14/50 25 August 2018
Rohingya refugees during a protest march after attending a ceremony to remember the first anniversary of a military crackdown that prompted a massive exodus of people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia
AFP/Getty
15/50 24 August 2018
US President Donald Trump sits with children during a tour of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio
AFP/Getty
16/50 23 August 2018
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
EPA
17/50 22 August 2018
High waves hit Jeju Island, South Korea, as powerful Typhoon Soulik gradually approaches the Korean Peninsula
EPA
18/50 21 August 2018
A Palestinian man throws his child in the air following morning prayers marking the first day of Eid al-Adha celebrations on the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem's Old City. Eid al-Adha is the holiest of the two Muslims holidays celebrated each year, it marks the yearly Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj) to visit Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. Muslims slaughter a sacrificial animal and split the meat into three parts, one for the family, one for friends and relatives, and one for the poor and needy
Reuters
19/50 20 August 2018
South Korean Lee Keum-seom, 92, meets with her North Korean son Ri Sung Chol, 71, during a separated family reunion meeting at the Mount Kumgang resort on the North's southeastern coast. Dozens of elderly and frail South Koreans met their Northern relatives for the first time since the peninsula and their families were divided by war nearly seven decades ago
AFP/Getty
20/50 19 August 2018
The flag of the United Nations flying at half-mast to mark the death of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, at the European headquarters in Geneva. Kofi Annan died on 18 August, aged 80
EPA
21/50 18 August 2018
Newly appointed Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan inspects the guard of honor on his arrival in the Prime Minister House during a ceremony in Islamabad. Imran Khan was sworn in at a ceremony in Islamabad, ushering in a new political era as the World Cup cricket hero officially took the reins of power in the nuclear-armed country
PID/AFP/Getty
22/50 17 August 2018
Muslim pilgrims walk out after the Friday prayer at the Grand mosque ahead of annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Reuters
23/50 16 August 2018
A man wades through flooded water in Kochi, Kerala state, India. According to reports, the region is on a high alert with schools and offices been closed due to the rising water levels of Periyar river after the gates of the Idukki reservoir were opened. The area has been hit by heavy rains that caused floods and reportedly killed at least 65 people
EPA
24/50 15 August 2018
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets schoolchildren after his speech as part of India's 72nd Independence Day celebrations which marks the 71st anniversary of the end of British colonial rule, at the Red Fort in New Delhi
AFP/Getty
25/50 14 August 2018
A large section of the Morandi viaduct upon which the A10 motorway runs collapsed in Genoa, Italy. Both sides of the highway fell. Around 10 vehicles are involved in the collapse, rescue sources said. The viaduct gave way amid torrential rain. It runs over shopping centres, factories, some homes, the Genoa-Milan railway line and the Polcevera river
EPA
26/50 13 August 2018
Turkish President Erdogan addresses the 10th annual Ambassadors' Conference in Ankara. Global markets have reacted fearfully to Turkey's financial crash, which Turkish President Erdogan blames on a "political, underhand plot" by Donald Trump's USA. Last week the US doubled steel and aluminium tariffs against Turkey amidst diplomatic tensions over the latter's detaining of an American pastor
Turkish Presidential Press Service/AFP/Getty
27/50 12 August 2018
NASA, The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 12, 2018 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity's first-ever mission into a part of the Suns atmosphere called the corona. The probe will directly explore solar processes that are key to understanding and forecasting space weather events that can impact life on Earth.
NASA via Getty
28/50 11 August 2018
An activist confronts Virginia State Troopers in riot gear during a rally on the campus of The University of Virginia one-year after the violent white nationalist rally that left one person dead and dozens injured in Charlottesville, Virginia
AFP/Getty
29/50 10 August 2018
A man holds his son before Friday prayers at an evacuation centre in Sambik Bangkol village, in northern Lombok on West Nusa Tenggara province
AFP/Getty
30/50 9 August 2018
A rescuers stands next to a damaged tent in a flooded camping as storms and heavy rains sweep across France on August 9, 2018 in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, southern France. - The bad weather caused large power cuts and a man who was working in a summer camp went missing according to the gendarmerie
AFP/Getty
31/50 8 August 2018
A Palestinian girl smiles as she waits to receive aids at a United Nations food distribution centre in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza
AFP/Getty
32/50 7 August 2018
An Israeli soldier rides an armoured vehicle during an army drill after the visit of Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel
Reuters
33/50 6 August 2018
Usable items are salvaged from a home destroyed in an earthquake in North Lombok, Indonesia. The powerful earthquake struck the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok, killing a number of people and shaking neighboring Bali, as authorities on Monday said thousands of houses were damaged and the death toll could climb
AP
34/50 5 August 2018
Accident investigators and rescue personnel work at the wreckage of a Junkers JU52 aircraft in Flims, after it crashed into Piz Segnas, a 3,000-metre (10,000-foot) peak in eastern Switzerland. Twenty people were confirmed dead after the vintage World War II aircraft crashed into a Swiss mountainside, police reports said. The Junker JU52 HB-HOT aircraft, built in Germany in 1939 and now a collectors item, belongs to JU-Air, a company with links to the Swiss air force, the ATS news agency reported
AFP/Getty
35/50 4 August 2018
Members of different security forces stand guard and take evidence after an explosion targeted President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela. The Venezuelan Information Minister, Jorge Rodriguez, confirmed that President Nicolas Maduro was the victim of an attack with 'drone-type flying devices that contained an explosive charge', and that he escaped unharmed from the incident, which occurred during a military ceremony in Caracas
EPA
36/50 3 August 2018
People in Mbare celebrate after officials announced the re-election of President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in Harare, Zimbabwe. The election was the first since Robert Mugabe was ousted in a military coup last year, and featured a close race between Mnangagwa and opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC Alliance). Deadly clashes broke out earlier in the week following the release of parliamentary election results, amid allegations of fraud by Chamisa and MDC supporters
Getty
37/50 2 August 2018
A supporter of the ruling ZANU-PF walks past a burnt vehicle at the party's offices a day after the clashes between security forces and opposition protesters in Harare, Zimbabwe
Reuters
38/50 1 August 2018
A ceremony takes place in a hangar, to mark the return of 55 sets of remains of American troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. The ceremony was held five days after a US airplane transported the remains to South Korea from North Korea in a move expected to facilitate ongoing efforts to promote peace on the peninsula
EPA
39/50 31 July 2018
Veronika Nikulshina, one of four members of Russia's Pussy Riot protest group who were jailed for 15 days for staging a pitch invasion during the football World Cup final and were detained again after their release on July 30, is escorted by a police officer before a court hearing in Moscow
Reuters
40/50 30 July 2018
A relative of a passenger of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 reads the safety report that has concluded that the planes controls were deliberately manipulated and that illegal interference by a third party cannot be ruled out. Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people on board en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on 8 March 2014
Reuters
41/50 29 July 2018
Palestinian activist and campaigner Ahed Tamimi kisses the tombstone of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at his mausoleum in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, after she was released from prison following an eight-month sentence for slapping two Israeli soldiers
AFP/Getty
42/50 28 July 2018
Zimbabwe's incumbent President and candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa arrives for his closing presidential campaign rally in Harare, two days ahead of the elections
AFP/Getty
43/50 27 July 2018
A house burns during the Carr fire in Redding, California. One firefighter has died and at least two others have been injured as wind-whipped flames tore through the region
Getty
44/50 26 July 2018
Supporters of Pakistan's cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party, celebrate in Karachi, a day after a general election. Imran Khan claimed victory in the country's tense general election marred by allegations of "blatant" rigging by rival parties. A visibly tired Khan cut a conciliatory tone in a wide-ranging address to the nation following the controversial contest
AFP/Getty
45/50 25 July 2018
A man who was injured in a suspected suicide bomb attack outside a polling station, receives medical treatment at a hospital in Quetta. At least 25 people were killed and 30 injured in the incident. Polling stations in Pakistan opened for the general election for around 105 million constituents. Voters will have to choose from 11,000 candidates to elect 272 members of the Parliament for the next term. These elections are the second in Pakistan's history in which a government was able to complete its term to make way for another government after being ruled by military dictators for half of the 71 years of its existence since its founding in 1947
EPA
46/50 24 July 2018
A woman reacts as she tries to find her dog, following a wildfire at the village of Mati, near Athens, Greece. At least 60 people are thought to have been killed
Reuters
47/50 23 July 2018
A house is threatened by a huge blaze during a wildfire in Kineta, near Athens. More than 300 firefighters, five aircraft and two helicopters were mobilised to tackle the "extremely difficult" situation due to strong gusts of wind, Athens fire chief Achille Tzouvaras said
AFP/Getty
48/50 22 July 2018
Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows a smoke plume rising across the border in Quneitra in southwestern Syria, as rebels destroy their arms stocks prior to their departure
Getty
49/50 21 July 2018
A Syrian child looks through the window of a bus as displaced people from the Quneitra province wait at the Morek crossing point to be transfered in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, northwestern Syria. The transfers come under a surrender deal agreed this week between Russia and Syrian rebels in Quneitra province that will see the sensitive zone fall back under state control. Rebels will hand over territory they control in Quneitra and the neighbouring buffer zone with the Israeli-occupied Golan, a war monitor and a rebel
AFP/Getty
50/50 20 July 2018
Men push a car past a flooded street in Ahmadabad, India. Hundreds of people have been rescued from flood affected areas in the past week as incessant rains continue to lash Gujarat state
AP

The causes of the protests are self-evident: Iraq is ruled by a kleptomaniac political class that operates the Iraqi state apparatus as a looting machine. Other countries are corrupt, notably those rich in oil or other natural resources, and the politically well connected become hugely wealthy. However big the rake-off, something is usually built at the end of the day.
In Iraq it does not happen that way, and among the angriest victims of 15 years of wholesale theft are the two million inhabitants of Basra. Once glorified as the Venice of the Gulf, its canals have turned into open sewers and its water supplies are so polluted as to be actually poisonous.
Protests erupted earlier this year because of the lack of electricity, water, jobs and every other government service. The injustice was all the more flagrant because the oil companies around Basra are exporting more crude than ever before. In August this totalled four million barrels a day, earning the government in Baghdad some $7.7bn over the course of the month.
Few things epitomise the failure of the Iraqi state so starkly as the fact that, despite its vast oil wealth, Basra is now threatened by a cholera outbreak, according to local health officials. Basra hospitals have already treated 17,500 people for chronic diarrhoea and stomach ailments over the past two weeks, after they became ill from drinking polluted water. Salt water is mixing with fresh water, making it brackish and reducing the effectiveness of the chlorine that would otherwise kill the bacteria. There is plenty of bacteria around because the water system has not been updated for 30 years and sewage from broken pipes is mixing with drinking water.
Iraqi governments are not much good at coping with crises like these at the best of times, and this one strikes at a particularly bad moment because the two main political blocs are failing to form a new government in the aftermath of the parliamentary election on 12 May. The new parliament met for the first time this week, failed to elect a speaker and decided to take 10 days off, but is now to meet in emergency session on Saturday to discuss the crisis in Basra.  
Water level drops dramatically in Iraq’s Tigris riverBut even if a new government is formed under the current prime minister Haider al-Abadi, or some other figure, it may not make much difference. The party that unexpectedly polled best in the election was the one following the nationalist populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, which was allied to the small Iraqi Communist Party, thereby emphasising its secular, non-sectarian and progressive policies. On the other hand, critics claim that in the past government Sadrist ministers have been just as corrupt as those of the other parties. The problem is not just individual corruption but the political mechanism as a whole: ministries are shared out between the parties which then use them as cash cows and sources of patronage jobs. Mudher Salih, a financial adviser to Abadi, explained to me in Baghdad earlier this year how this works, adding that “unless the political system is changed it is impossible to fight corruption”. 
This system of jobs for the boys, regardless of personal merit or professional qualifications, has damaging consequences for ordinary Iraqis. Many of those who have climbed onto the gravy train over the past 15 years would not know how to improve matters even if they wanted to. One former governor of Basra is reported to have handed back a large part of its budget because he said he could not think of anything on which to spend the money.
Why is this happening now? The Iraqi government, backed by the US, Iran and many other allies, won its greatest victory last year when it recaptured Mosul from Isis after a nine month siege. Paradoxically, this success meant many Iraqis were no longer preoccupied by the threat posed by Isis to themselves and their families. They focused instead on the ramshackle state of their country – the lack of roads, bridges, hospitals and schools, as well as the shortage of electricity and water, in a place where summer temperatures reach 50C.
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Many Iraqis say they favour radical or even revolutionary change but the status quo will be difficult to uproot, however unsatisfactory it may be. It is not only the elite who plug into the oil revenues. Some 4.5 million Iraqis get salaries from the state and they – and not just crooked billionaires – have an incentive in keeping things as they are, however toxic.
Iraq will most likely continue to be misruled by a weak dysfunctional government, thereby opening the door to various dangers. Isis is down but not entirely out: it could rally its forces, perhaps in a different guise, and escalate attacks. Divisions within the Shiah community are growing deeper and more rancorous as the Sadrists – whose offices, unlike those of the other parties, have not been burned by demonstrators – grow in influence.
A festering political crisis will not be confined to Iraq. The outside world should have learned this lesson from the aftermath of the US-led invasion of 2003. Rival Iraqi parties always seek foreign sponsors whose interests they serve as well as their own. The country is already one of the arenas of the escalating US-Iran confrontation. As with the threat of a cholera epidemic in Basra, Iraqi crises tend to spread swiftly and infect the whole region.
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