Basra province, or Al Basrah province, is a province of Iraq, with an area of 19,070 square kilometers (7,363 sq mi). One reported estimate of its 2003 population is 1,761,000. Its capital is Basra City, perhaps Iraq's fourth or fifth largest city; other major cities include Corna (Eden), Az Zubayr, Umm Qasr and Abu Al Khaseeb. The province has international borders with Kuwait to the south and Iran to the east.
Governor: Muhammad Musbih al-Wa'ili
Deputy Governor: Luay al-Battat
Provincial Council Chairman (PCC): Muhammad Sa'doun al-Abadi
After defeating the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the United Kingdom combined the old Ottoman provinces (vilayets) of Basra, Baghdad and Mosul to form the state of Iraq, which Britain controlled as a League of Nations mandate.
A proposal to join Basra with the neighboring governorates of Dhi Qar and Maysan to form a southeastern state in an eventual Iraqi federation is currently under discussion. A new law, passed by the Iraqi Parliament in 2006, allows for the merger of two or more provinces as of April 2008. Currently, there is movement calling for a referendum on making Basra an autonomous region like the Kurdish Autonomous Region in northern Iraq.
On the 9th of December 2007, it was announced by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that control of the Basra Governorate would be handed over from Coalition forces to local Iraqi control. The province was formally transferred a week later, on the 16th of December 2007, making it the 9th such province to be transferred to full Iraqi control.
The Basra Governorate tried to gain autonomy through collecting signatures for an autonomy referendum in December 2008 and January 2009; however, the signatures did not reach 10% of eligible voters, and thus the referendum bid failed.
Capital of Basra Province, and had an estimated population of 1,052,200 as of 2003. Basra is also Iraq's main port. The city is the historic location of Sumer, the home of Sinbad the Sailor, and a proposed location of the Garden of Eden. It also played an important role in early Islamic history, being built in 636 CE, or 14 AH. It is Iraq's fourth largest city after Baghdad, Mosul and Arbil.
The city is located along the Shatt al-Arab waterway near the Persian Gulf, 55 kilometers (34 mi) from the Persian Gulf and 545 kilometers (339 mi) from Baghdad, Iraq's capital and largest city.
The area surrounding Basra has substantial petroleum resources and many oil wells. The city also has an international airport, which recently began restored service into Baghdad with Iraqi Airways—the nation's flag airline. Basra is in a fertile agricultural region, with major products including rice, maize corn, barley, pearl millet, wheat, dates, and livestock. The city's oil refinery has a production capacity of about 140,000 barrels a day (22,300 m³).
Old city of Basra 1954
Muslim adherents of the area are primarily members of the Jafari Shi`a sect. A sizable number of Sunnis, 35% of Basra, also live there—although after the war it decreased to less than 10%,as well as a small number of Christians. There are also remnants of the pre-Islamic gnostic sect of Mandaeans, whose headquarters were in the area formerly called Suk esh-Sheikh.
Al Basrah Oil Terminal
A network of canals flowed through the city, giving it the nickname "The Venice of the Middle East" at least at high tide. The tides at Basra fall by about 2.7 meters (9 ft). For a long time, Basra was known for the superior quality of its dates.
Basrah International Airport (IATA: BSR, ICAO: ORMM) is the second largest international airport in Iraq, and is located in the southern city of Basra.
The airport was built in the 1960s and then developed in the 1980s by Saddam Hussein as a gateway to the only port in Iraq. This second phase of development was completed by Strabag in Spring 1988. It is claimed that the airport was built only as a facility for VIPs and was only used rarely.
Renovation of the airport was supposed to proceed with the construction of a new terminal under German contract but the project prematurely ceased with the outbreak of the 1991 Gulf War. Actual development proceeded in the airport only after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Some facilities were refurbished under a contract by United States Agency for International Development. The project is broad as it includes building air traffic control towers and other navigational facilities, as well as the construction of transportation and communications facilities.
A more accurate map at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/basrah_2003.jpg
The airport was eventually reopened in June 2005. The event was marked by the traditional sheep sacrifice as an Iraqi Airways Boeing 727 jet landed from Baghdad. It was the beginning of a new domestic service in Iraq between Baghdad and Basrah. However, many of the passengers complained about the lack of basic facilities. Problems included air conditioning and toilets, as airport management is involved in repairs.
Reconstruction of the airport is still under way to improve the facilities. Iraqi Airways has already operated routes from this airport, and is its second hub. As the city is considered to be safer than Baghdad, Iraqi Airways are hoping to operate foreign flights to the country. They have applied for slots at London Heathrow Airport which they wish to start service to soon.
The airport is also currently in the process of civilianisation as part of the rebuilding of the country as part of Operation Telic of the multinational force in Iraq. As such there continues to be a significant Royal Air Force presence at the airport.
Airlines and destinations
Jupiter Airlines (Dubai)
Iraqi Airways (Amman, Beirut, Damascus, Dubai, Erbil, Sulaymaniah)
Royal Jordanian (Amman)
Flying Carpet (Beirut)
The University of Basrah (UB) (Arabic: ÌÇãÚÉ ÇáÈÕÑÉ, Jami'at Al Basrahý) is situated in the city of Basra, Iraq. For historic reasons the final -h is retained on Basrah in the name of the university.
Founded in 1964 to meet the needs of southern Iraq, the University of Basrah was at first affiliated with the University of Baghdad, but in 1964 it became an independent body. Today the University consists of fourteen colleges located on three campuses around the city of Basra, along with research facilities and student halls of residence (dormitories)
The University awards the degrees of BA, BSc, Higher Diploma, MA, MSc and PhD.
The University is composed of 14 colleges, they are as follows:
® College of Medicine
® College of Pharmacy
® College of Dentistry
® College of Veterinary Medicine
® College of Engineering
® College of Science
® College of Agriculture
® College of Education
® College of Business and Economics
® College of Law
® College of Arts
® College of Physical Education
® College of Historical Studies
® College of Fine Arts
® Next academic year will witness the birth of a new college, The College of Nursing.
The University conducts research through the following research centers:
® Iranian Studies Centre
® Marine Science Centre
® Polymer Studies Centre
® Arabic Gulf Studies Centre
® Basrah Studies Centre
® Date Palm Research Centre
® Educational Counseling Centre
® Resources Centre
® Teaching Methods Development Centre
® Living Languages Centre
® Computer Centre
® Continuing Educational Centre
® There is also the Desalination Unit (affiliated with the College of Engineering), the Natural History Museum, the Haemoglobinopathy Unit, the Internet Resources Centre, the Central Library, and a Publishing house.
The University of Basrah consists of three campuses, they are as follows:
® Northern Campus of Qarmat Ali: It contains the colleges of Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Science, Education, Agriculture and Physical Education.
® Southern Campus of Bab Al Zubayer: It contains the colleges of Business and Economics, Law, Arts, Historical Studies, Fine Arts
® College of Medicine Campus: It contains the College of Medicine and the Teaching Hospital.
® College of Dentistry Campus: It contains the College of Dentistry.
Basrah Province Information:
Located in the far south, Basrah province is a center of the oil, fishing and shipping industries.
» Population: 1.8 million
» Labor Force: 1,069,000
» Area: 19,070 sq. km.
» International borders: Iran, Kuwait
» Capital: Basrah city
Other large towns: Abul Khasib, Al Fao, Az Zubayr, Qurna,Um Qasir.
» Major Industries: Oil, oil processing , shipping, agriculture, tomato paste, dates, fishing and fisheries
» Potential areas for investment: Plastics, fertilizers and other petrochemicals, expansion of existing port facilities, trade logistics, tourism (including eco-tourism).
» Education: One university (Basrah University, 7000 students), 320 secondary schools, 14 vocational schools (commercial, industrial and technical), 14 teacher training institutes.
» Health: Basrah has 15 hospitals and 39 public medical clinics. In 2003 there were 862 general practice medical doctors in the province, both male and female. Basra has over 2500 in-patient hospital beds.
» Infrastructure: Some of Iraq’s largest oil fields are in Basrah, as well as major refining and export facilities.
Basrah is home to all six of Iraq’s ports, including its only deep-water port, and is thus the major transportation nexus in the southern part of the country. See more information below, and also the Iraqi Ports website.
Basrah can be reached by Expressway 1 from Baghdad. Basrah is also connected by primary road to Kuwait City, and the Safwan border crossing between Kuwait and Iraq is a major trade port.
Basrah International Airport receives regular domestic and international flights.
Regular ferry service operates between Basrah’s Umm Qasr port and Dubai, UAE for both passengers and cargo.
The Iraqi railroad network begins its southern route at Umm Qasr port, and heads north.
» Tourist attractions: Qurna, where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers converge, is rumored to be the original site of the Garden of Eden.
Al Basrah is home to a free zone at the Khawr al Zubair port. This 1 million sq. m. zone is located 40 kilometers south-west of Al Basrah, on the Arab Gulf at the Khawr Al Zubair seaport. The Iraqi government established this zone in June 2004.
Oil is key to Basrah's economy.
» Some of Iraq’s largest oil fields (Rumaila North, Majnoon and Rumaila South) are located in Basrah province. A majority of Iraq’s oil exports leave the country through Basrah’s ports.
» The Southern Oil Company (owned by the Ministry of Oil) is headquartered in Basrah and operates two oil terminals near the city.
Proximity to oil fields means that much economic activity in Basrah is centered around the petrochemical industry.
Substantial economic activity in Basrah is centered around the petrochemical industry. The Southern Fertilizer Company produces ammonia solution, urea and nitrogen gas.
» The State Company for Petrochemical Industries has a large complex in Basrah. The complex consists of six major plants, one for each of the main products: ethylene, caustic/chlorine, vinyl chlorine monomer (VCM), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), low-density polyethylene, and high-density polyethylene.
» SCPI can satisfy the requirements of most thermoplastic processing techniques including blown film extrusion, cast film extrusion, wire and cable coating, pipe extrusion, injection molding, blow molding, and rotational molding. Company tenders are available on its website.
Shipping, logistics and transport are also major industries in Basrah.
» Basrah is home to all of Iraq’s six ports; Umm Qasr is the main deep-water port with 22 platforms, some of which are dedicated to specific goods (such as sulfur, seeds, lubricant oil, etc.) The other five ports are smaller in scale and more narrowly specialized.
» In addition to on-loading and off-loading cargo, Umm Qasr has over 175,000 square feet of covered warehouse and 800,000 square feet of other storage facilities. Fencing has been installed around the perimeter of the port and it is entirely lit at night. There is ample nearby land to expand port facilities in the future.
» Al Maqal port was inactive for over 20 years, after ceasing operations in 1980. Over $7 million has been invested in port infrastructure since 2003, but Al Maqal will require more investment to become fully operational again.
» Abu Flus, on the Shatt al-Arab waterway, services smaller import and export loads of cars, agriculture products, construction materials and electrical goods. The port requires further investments in infrastructure to reach full capacity.
Fishing and fisheries show growth potential.
» Marine fishing is active in Basrah in Iraqi territorial waters and the Gulf. The principal species caught are shad, pomphret and mullet. Fishing techniques used by trawlers include trawl, gill-nets, surrounding-nets, cast-nets and trap nets.
» Recent fish catches have declined due, in part, to the draining of the southern marshes. The marshes supported fisheries as well as nurseries for commercial species. With the rehabilitation of the marshes underway, the fishing industry in Basrah may face a brighter future.