Protesters slaughtered, Iran tightens grip: 'We don't have any media spotlight on this,' says Middle East expert

On Fox Nation's "Deep Dive," a panel of foreign policy experts weighed in on deadly mass protests gripping Iraq as that nation's youth rebelled against government corruption and Iranian meddling in their country.

"We have a continuation of the Arab Spring of 2011, only Arab Spring light," said Fox News contributor and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Judith Miller, in reference to the uprisings that threw the region into chaos eight years ago.

MASKED IRAQI SECURITY FORCES OPEN FIRE ON PROTESTERS, KILLING 18: REPORT

In the face of growing demonstrations, Iraqi's president pledged in a nationally televised speech on Thursday that Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi will step down if and when a successor is selected to take his place.

The decision came as Iraq’s semi-official human rights commission said 100 people have been killed and over 5,000 injured since Friday, when protests picked up again after a three-week hiatus.

An anti-government protester prepares to throw back a tear gas canister fired by Iraq security forces to disperse a during a demonstration, in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. Anti-government protests in Iraq gained momentum Wednesday with tens of thousands of people gathered in a central square in Baghdad and across much of the country's Shiite-majority central southern provinces. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

An anti-government protester prepares to throw back a tear gas canister fired by Iraq security forces to disperse a during a demonstration, in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. Anti-government protests in Iraq gained momentum Wednesday with tens of thousands of people gathered in a central square in Baghdad and across much of the country's Shiite-majority central southern provinces. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

"We've had the resignation in Lebanon of Saad Hariri, the prime minister, because of outrage over corruption and lack of delivery of services. Now we have the same situation in Iraq where their prime minister is under pressure," said Miller on Thursday's "Deep Dive," before the Iraqi president's address.

"I see these as good signs," continued Miller. "I see these as signs that people are finally getting a voice and demanding less corrupt, more efficient government. And Iraq has held together [despite] all of those predictions after the [Iraq] war that it would never hang together. Iraq has held together with great difficulty."

"But it is more fragile now than it's ever been," added Mike Pregent, who is a senior Middle East analyst and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. "The people there are actually protesting on the streets in Lebanon and Iraq are... the Shia youth."

The majority of Muslims living in Iraq are Shia and 70 percent of the country is under the age of 30, according to Pregent, setting the stage for a volatile situation.

"If you look at the history of the world, whenever there's been a baby boom population, whether it's been in the Roman Empire or in the American Revolution or the French Revolution, it's a revolutionary force," added President Trump's former deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland.

Iraqi security forces use tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. Anti-government protests in Iraq gained momentum Wednesday with tens of thousands of people gathered in a central square in Baghdad and across much of the country's Shiite-majority central southern provinces. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Iraqi security forces use tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. Anti-government protests in Iraq gained momentum Wednesday with tens of thousands of people gathered in a central square in Baghdad and across much of the country's Shiite-majority central southern provinces. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Pregent continued, by saying that this new movement is driven by a rejection of Iran's meddling in the affairs of Iraq.

"They are protesting against Iran's involvement. They're protesting against the religious parties," said Pregent. "[The Iranian commander of the Quds force, which is considered a terrorist group by the United States] Qassem Soleimani actually chaired a meeting in Baghdad [on Wednesday] that the prime minister was supposed to chair."

Pregent, who recently returned from a trip to the Middle East, also said that according to his sources Soleimani's message to protesters in Iran and Lebanon is, 'We will shoot you like we shoot Iraqis if you do this.'"

Nearly 250 Iraqis were killed in October alone as Iraqi government security forces cracked down on the growing protest movement. Pregent said that militia groups tied to Iran are also involved in the violent repression of the protests and on Tuesday, masked gunmen opened fire on Iraqi protesters in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, killing 18 people and wounding hundreds.

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"We don't have any media spotlight on this. If that happened in Hong Kong, the international committee would be outraged. It's happening in Iraq. It shouldn't be ok to kill Iraqis," he said.

"They don't need U.S. foreign policy or legislative policy. They need U.S. media and western media to cover these protests because they are big. They're actually putting themselves at risk to push Iran back, something we haven't been able to do with our policies," he concluded.

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Fox News' Morgan Phillips and the Associated Press contributed to this report.