Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi dismissed on Thursday Basra Operations Commander Lieutenant-General Jamil al-Shammari in the wake of mass protests that are ongoing in the country’s south since the beginning of the month, according to the Turkish Anadolu Agency.
The decision of Abadi, who is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, came only hours before the parliament was scheduled to vote on whether or not to dismiss the commander.
“The prime minister ordered that Basra Operations Commander al-Shammari be demoted to the post of rector of Iraq’s Defense University for Military Studies," Abadi's office said in a statement.
Shammari has received criticism as 18 demonstrators were killed in Basra earlier this month during violent protests.
In July, mass protests began in central and southern provinces with the Shiite majority calling for better services like electricity, water, jobs and fighting corruption.