Protests in and around Tahrir (Liberation) Square in central Baghdad in Iraq, are now entering their fourth week.
A reader sent me a link of this YouTube news report of the current status of the protests. The question asked about the report was might Iraq and its government change from the system started with the force that caused the lion to stand and its mind be changed.
The Tahrir Protest
One of the protesters’ gripes is the corruption of government officials and another is interference in Iraqi affairs by Iran.
The roots of the protest seem to be purely nationalistic and not sectarian as most of the protests are carried about by Shias, and Iran is Shia. At time 00:47 in the video the question is asked of the crowd, “Are you Iraqi?” at which the crowd erupts in cheers.
The reasons for the protest are 1) politician corruption, 2) Iran interference, and 3) the lousy economy with high unemployment.
Protests, if allowed to carry on too long, have a chance of snowballing into an all-out revolution. On the other end of a revolution, the government may change quite a bit as in France in 1789, or Russia in 1917.
Up to this point I thought of the Tahrir Square protest as just more violence and unrest in Iraq—the 2003 overthrow of Saddam, the 2006 Surge, and the war with ISIS most recently. However, the reasons for the protests and their chance to roll into a revolution got me thinking.
Where else have we heard of a protest in a square, by young people, where the protestors wanted to end politicians’ corruption, end a Party’s interference, and improve a lousy economy. Oh, that’s right, it was at Tiananmen Square in central Beijing in 1989.
Tahrir and Tiananmen
Too young to remember Tiananmen Square? If you Google the single word “Tiananmen” and go to Images, you will see several websites with the same picture that you may have seen before: the lone “tank man,” presumably a student, temporarily holding up a column of tanks as the Chinese military was rolling in and about to massacre thousands out of the crowd of a million. Here is some video.
Can Tiananmen and Tahrir be compared as equivalent? I believe so. Granted, Tiananmen Square has about 20 times the area of Tahrir Square and so can hold 20 times the people. Tahrir may have 50,000 people and Tiananmen had a million (a ratio of 1:20). But remember, China had 28 times the population of Iraq today, and the reasons for the protests are basically the same. Both squares are also in the center of the respective capital cities. In other words, the Tahrir protest of Iraq in 2019, is roughly proportionally in size and importance to Iraq as the Tiananmen protest of China in 1989 was to China.
Daniel 7:4 does not mention any other form of government of Iraq, except as the lion under Saddam, and as the standing lion that was forced in 2005. So either this protest will result in a) concessions by Iraqi politicians and things change to a degree without changing the democratic parliamentary system in place since 2005, or, b) a powerful military force moves in ending the protests just as in Tiananmen Square, and the next Signpost may be in play.
What military force would move in? Iraqi militias have already caused hundreds of casualties but the protests go on. So what is the alternative? Could the force be the IRGC and the start of the Second Signpost?
If the IRGC moves in to merely quell the protests, resentment among the protesters would only increase. The IRGC would have to permanently move in and counter the increased resentment. But that’s exactly what the Second Signpost will entail: IRGC occupying countries, there being resentment in the local populations, and the IRGC being heavy-handed causing the great slayings of Revelation 6:4, 8, just like ISIS did to its captive populations in the last few years.
Some fellow watchmen in this prophetic community thought the Turkish invasion of northern Syria to kill Kurds might trigger the Second Signpost. Yes, it was possible. At the time I wasn’t as convinced. In retrospect, compared to the current Tahrir protest, I would have given the Signpost being triggered by Turkey maybe a 10-20% chance.
I mention this only because as a point of comparison, this current Tahrir protest has, I believe, a greater chance of triggering the Second Signpost. (And as this community grows, there will be some differences of opinion in what we are watching, and for those joining in with their views and alerts I am thankful. We, as a body of watchmen, can serve the Church better.)
I see these protests in Tahrir Square as having a much stronger chance of triggering the next Signpost, perhaps as much as a 50-60% chance currently. If the protest is allowed to continue and grow, that chance will also grow.
Why is the Tahrir protest a better trigger than the Turkish invasion? Northern Syria is much further out from Iran, but Baghdad is much closer to Iran’s doorstep, and would also be the jumping off point for the Ram’s charges to the north and the west. Also, the Iranian regime would not want to lose its current grip on the south half of Iraq, while the IRGC currently present in the southwest parts of Syria has yet to occupy northern Syria.