On 9 December 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Baghdad and other major cities, with the exception of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

“Event: According to reports, demonstrations are expected to increase in size starting on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. U.S. citizens may see a heavy security presence. Additionally, the Prime Minister has declared a holiday on December 10 to commemorate the anniversary of the defeat of ISIS. International Zone checkpoints are expected to be closed and traffic disruptions likely.”

To read the full text of the warning, please click here

Analyst Comment: As of 1530 local time (1330 UTC) on 10 December 2019, anti-government protesters are gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, and Iraqi military forces are deployed around the perimeter of the square in order to protect demonstrators. Thus far, there have been no reports of violence, but travelers in Iraq should monitor the situation closely and avoid Tahrir Square, as the likelihood of violence at this location remains high.