Researcher Shatha Khalil *
Basra is the third largest city in the Republic of Iraq, the economic capital of Iraq, and its main port and its sole maritime outlet. It stores about two-thirds of Iraq’s oil reserves and embraces giant oil fields, as well as natural gas fields, and represents the main source for the production and export Iraqi oil.
Basra is located in the southernmost part of Iraq on the West Bank of Shatt al-Arab. It has a population of 2,796,000 and an area of 19,070 km2. It is the administrative and political center of Basra Governorate. It is characterized by the largest size of the oil and gas wealth it owns, and the headquarters of the south oil company is located in it. It exports its main production from Basra Petroleum station.
Basra is an economic capital:
Oil is the main source of the Iraqi economy, and Iraq has the fourth largest oil reserves in the world, which is estimated at 115 billion barrels, and Basra contains the largest oil wealth in Iraq, as statistics indicate that it owns 15 fields out of known 77 fields, including 10 productive fields are still waiting development, and these fields contain an oil reserve of more than 65 billion barrels, accounting for 59% of the total Iraqi oil reserves.
It may surprise many people in the oil-rich city of Basra that it is suffering from poverty, unemployment and lack of services. The streets are filled with garbage and sewage, and entire neighborhoods live without water or electricity.
Street of Basra is boiling, and the people of the province of Basra believes that the separation or the region is the solution, where it renewed its movement to form a special federal region, after a wave of objections and complaints about the share of the budget of 2019, which counted an “unfair” share, stressing that movement will be very wide this time after being mixed with political and popular support.
In the past, Basra has called for the formation of a special region in protest against the policy of marginalization and neglect of the province. However, its previous attempts have not succeeded despite its legality. Governments have managed to delay them, while people of Basra expect the situation to differ with the new government headed by Adel Abdul Mahdi.
A member of the coalition of “al-Bina” in the province, Majid al-Mayahi pointed out, that “Basra, which is the economic lung of Iraq, has been marginalized from successive governments, especially the current government,” stressing that we “can not accept the share of the province of the new budget as it is no more than operative budget and projects can not be completed through it. ”
He pointed out that “the local government began to organize the official request to be submitted to the responsible authorities to take legal steps to form the region of Basra.”
The movement towards the formation of the region of Basra is wider compared to the previous claims, after support from within the province.
Corruption of the administration, parties and militias are the cause of the destruction of Basra.
Basra , rich in resources and wealth and its important geographical location , if Basra ere run in a national spirit , it would be the richest in the world , but the dominant corruption represented by parties , militias and gangs stole the wealth of the province, however , the region does not change anything according to my research information, only adds more corruption and competitive fighting for wealth and more of the division between the Iraqi provinces at best if it turned into civil war, in order to share wealth by force.
Oil in the province of Basra is the main source of the Iraqi budget, accounting for 80% of Iraqi oil.
What is happening in Basra is the accumulation of corruption in all joints of the province, which resulted in lack of services and also the spread of administrative and financial corruption, which led to the transformation of the city of Basra to a disaster city.
In international law, the disaster city is the ones that is affected by the lack of water, electricity, health and education. As a result, Basra has become a disaster city by all international standards. These requirements are provided in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in all constitutions of the world, including the Iraqi constitution.
The water crisis has infected thousands of people with epidemics, especially cholera and serious renal diseases, which began to exterminate people in full, so the demonstrations turned into sit-ins and strikes in the whole province.
This is the text of the article of the Constitution, which was established by the occupation authority headed by Paul Bremer to break up the unity of Iraq and open the gates of corruption that have been initiated within the law, dealing with the land of Iraq as if there are no common social, material, cultural, political or economic links, and the articles for the region are as the following :
Each governorate or more may form a region upon request by referendum, submitted in one of two ways:
First: – Requested by one-third of the members of each of the provincial councils that intend to form the region .
Second: A request from tenth of voters in each of the provinces that intend to form the territory.
The region shall establish a Constitution for itself, which shall define the structure of the powers of the region, its powers and the mechanisms for the exercise of those powers, provided that they do not conflict with this Constitution.
first: The authorities of the regions shall have the right to exercise the legislative, executive and judicial powers in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, except in the exclusive competence of the federal authorities.
Second: The authority of the region shall have the right to amend the application of the federal law in the region in the event of a contradiction or conflict between the federal law and the law of the region concerning a matter not falling under the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal authorities.
Third: The provinces and regions shall be allocated a fair share of the revenues collected federally enough to carry out their duties and responsibilities, taking into account their resources and needs and the proportion of the population therein.
Fourth: Establish offices for the regions and governorates in embassies and diplomatic missions to follow up the cultural, social and developmental affairs.
Fifth: The Government of the region shall be competent in all matters required by the administration of the region , in particular the establishment and organization of the internal security forces of the region , such as police, security and the region guards.
And the deteriorating conditions of services and others are turned into the claims of the people of Basra and began legal moves with other provinces to challenge their share in the budget in 2019, in addition to popular movement towards the formation of the region.
Elimination of financial and administrative corruption is the solution, not the region under the current situation.
The state must eradicate the cancer of administrative and financial corruption in all governorates of Iraq, especially Basra, the economic capital of Iraq because it is under the pressure and greed of the corrupt, by intensifying all efforts, whether governmental or non-governmental, to detect the corrupt and bring them to justice, whether they are parties or militias or gangs.
In the same context, the leader of the Sadrist movement in Iraq, Mr. Moqtada al-Sadr warned from the dangers of the formation of regions in the country, and said, “Regions are the will of the oppressed people who wants to end the suffering, but it is not a solution, and it will be easier for the officials of the regions to steal you and will go further in the process of corruption and injustice, and the greedy people will control us and you from the inside and outside , and will enjoy your wealth more and weaken you and makes easier for them to your control ”
He added, “O people of Iraq, keep your Iraq unified , land and people, this is my advice to you and the matter first and foremost to the people.”
The researchers see finding some solutions and remedies necessary to eliminate corruption and its occupiers and influential, even if Basra became a region, the suffering will not end, but the poor will become poorer, and the thief will become greedier.
The elimination of corruption is the best and most optimal and difficult solution in light of the spread of the phenomenon, to produce positive results contribute to the progress of society and thus accelerate the process of development in various aspects, and one of the most important strategies required to address administrative and financial corruption, which leads to reducing them, the demand was divided into two sections, the first dealing with political and legal remedies, and the second with economic dealings .
Section I: Political and legal remedies for corruption in the country:
• Mobilize appropriate policies to eradicate political and administrative corruption as a devastating phenomenon of economic and political development.
• Punishments for the perpetrators of corruption from public and private sector employees, and tightening the application of the provisions of the law against violators of public order.
• The application of the law to everyone, whether a senior official in the Iraqi government or parliament, in respect of inspections and control on financial operations by the Integrity Commission, and not to allow any political party or a particular minister to intervene in favor of those found to be manipulated or wasted for public money .
• Job rotation for government officials, because the long stay of the administrative officer at the same site causes widespread corruption, especially in the main joints of the public administration, such as customs, directorates of finance, procurement, real estate interests and public institutions and companies.
• Closing the gap between formal and informal administrative procedures, which makes the rule an exception, and the exception rule, and the wider the gap , the wider the corruption and vice versa.
• Updating laws, verifying the accuracy of administrative decisions and developing accountability system to improve government services and reduce corruption practices.
• Activating the role of the supervisory bodies in all departments, developing the leadership and administrative capacities of the government, intensifying its activities and empowering it with wide powers to account for the weak and the negligent, and prosecuting the perpetrators of corruption.
•Enact legislation requiring employees to observe the ethics and requirements of the public service.
• Activate the Integrity Commission with the expertise and specialties required to perform its work and make it fully independent in dealing with financial corruption and providing protection to it.
• The use of modern technology in surveillance, such as cameras and recordings, and the adoption of one window in going to the state departments and reduce communication as much as possible with staff.
Second: Economic Remedies for Corruption:
Raising the level of wages and salaries of employees in the state, and if the level of income goes at the same level over a number of years, the public departments will lose their qualified and trained personnel to the private sector, and the incompetent staff will remain in the public administration , leading to a decline in productivity and the establishment of routine and corruption.
• Preparation of feasibility study for new projects, preference between projects and integration of projects to maximize the use of services to all segments of society.
• Accelerate the provision of the right environment for investment in terms of laws, reconstruction of infrastructure and provision of basic services to Iraq.
• Spread the culture of integrity and fight corruption through schools, universities and even kindergartens to establish the principles of loyalty and honesty in everything, and to indicate the immediate and future negative effects of corruption and the best use of the appropriate teaching method for an integrated approach to spread the culture of integrity because of its effective impact in reducing this scourge.
• Develop a security strategy from the government to control the security situation and reduce security expenses for the reconstruction of the country and the establishment of a capable security apparatus and get rid of the control of sectarian militias.
Finally, states should establish a clear vision of the government in light of national and religious pluralism and political views in the management of state institutions, and give up nepotism by giving projects through the establishment of effective administrative and legal procedures and policies and obligating executing agencies to abide by standards and specifications and accounting violators .
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies