Iraqi protesters were shown on video in Diyala province ripping down Iranian propaganda posters that Iranian proxy militias put up for Quds Day. The billboards were first photographed on May 21. Iranian-backed Saraya al-Khorasani, which has been implicated in murdering Iraqi protesters, held a march for Quds Day in Diyala province. The protesters apparently gathered in the city of Baqubah, which is the capital off Diyala Governorate, and tore down the poster. It is 70km north of Baghdad.
The posters included images of Iranian leaders and pro-Iranian groups, including Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah. They are part of the Iranian iconography that has extended across Iraq in recent years.
Baqubah’s city council had refused to put up the pro-Iranian posters and there was disagreement about the posters, which may have led to the protest. Differing accounts online conflicted eachother as to the exact nature of who put the posters up. The posters showed images of Jerusalem and Iranian-backed Houthi leaders as well as Hamas. The images were seen as a provocation in the city.
Posters and photos of #Iran Supreme leader Khamenei, Houthi leader, and #IRGC commander Al-Qani (successor of Qassim Sulaimani as hear of Quds force) are all over the Iraqi province of Diyala in northeastern #Iraq. The posters have been fixed due to #QudsDay which is on My 22. pic.twitter.com/LE8bLcLOkh— Lawk Ghafuri (@LawkGhafuri) May 21, 2020
Protesters in Iraq, who have mobilized since last October, have often targeted pro-Iranian parties. Many of the protesters are from Shi’ite areas but they rejected the domination of Iraq by Iranian-backed militias and a corrupt system of government. Iraq has a new prime minister who is supposed to bring some hope to the younger generation, but the ossifying pro-Iranian militias nevertheless seek a stranglehold through their marches and posters.
Iran has attempted to hijack Iraq to use as a transit for weapons to Syria and Hezbollah. It has encouraged its Iraqi militia allies to target Israel. Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader Qais Khazali even went to Lebanon in 2017 to spread propaganda against Israel. Hezbollah members have gone to Iraq. In the fall of 2019 Iraq accused Israel of bombing warehouses linked to these militias.
Lawk Ghafuri, a journalist, tweeted images of the crowd in Diyala province allegedly tearing down the Iranian Quds Day posters. Photos from other areas of Iraq appeared to show another Iranian poster being burned. Baqubah and Diyala province is a restive area where ISIS has been active. Iranian-backed militias, many affiliated with the Hashd al-Shaabi or PMU, have deployed the province and been targeted by ISIS.