Basrah governorate profile, August 2015
Bordering Kuwait and Iran, Basra is the most southerly governorate of Iraq. It continues to be a socio-economic hub of the country with total of 1,912,533 inhabitants (excluding Syrian refugees and IDPs). The governorate is strategically and economically important, with a significant proportion of Iraqi oil reserves and the country’s sole access to the sea, Umm Qasr port being the only shipping hub.
This conservative governorate was a cradle of the religious militia established in 2003, which fought against USA-led forces deployed during the intervention. The outbreak of conflict in 2014 brought an influx of almost 11,000 people, mainly from Ninewa and Salah al-Din. The vast majority reside in Basra district, the governorate‘s capital and administrative centre, which continues to attract IDPs due to availability of basic services.
Starting in August, social and political tensions in Basra led to frequent demonstrations in protest against, inter alia, the erratic supply of basic services. Moreover, the host community demanded political changes in the local authorities’ offices and Basra was exposed to tribal conflicts, occurring mainly in Al-Qurna and Al-Zubair areas, resulting in a few casualties.