Unemployment Riots in Baghdad, al-Hilla and Basra
Former Iraqi soldiers reporting to collect a payment $40 became outraged at the long waits they faced at offices in Baghdad, al-Hilla and Basra, and rioted in dissatisfaction. Some had come from 100 miles away and some were allegedly told that soldiers whose names began with particular letters just weren’t going to receive their payment. The WP seems to imply that this was the last payment, whereas the ex-soldiers want a monthly life-time stipend for their military service. Two of the rioters were killed by Coalition troops, and in Baghdad between 15 and 20 were wounded when US troops opened fire. Rioters threw stones at and cursed US troops. Al-Hayat reported that the riots also occured in al-Hilla, and likewise maintained that the US had agreed to pay some sort of retirement stipend to the soldiers. The Bremer administration in Iraq simply fired 400,000 Iraqi soldiers early last summer, which many observers believe to have been a severe error.