The United States has been very vocal in its condemnations of Middle Eastern countries who use aggressive tactics on their protestors. When Iran cracked down on citizens the White House “strongly condemned the Iranian government’s organized intimidation campaign and arrests of political figures, human rights defenders, political activists, student leaders, journalists, and bloggers.” When Iraq imprisoned 300 journalists, intellectuals, and attorneys in order to quell belligerent protestors, the U.S. was strangely silent. The Washington Post described the campaign as “an operation to intimidate Baghdad intellectuals who hold sway over popular opinion.”

The Washington Post has reported 30 people have been killed in Iraq this week, including a 14-year-old boy. Some were reportedly gunned down by government forces in an attempt to stop protests in the streets. And some of the recent prisoners have reported abuse at the hands of the Iraqi officials who held them. According to reports from the Post, prisoners were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten, and threatened with execution.

In the Iraqi protests, the call from the demonstrators was for reform, not a complete replacement of the Iraqi government.