Iraqi MP says time not ‘suitable’ to announce Basra as federal region
Kurdistan so far is the only federal, semi-autonomous region in Iraq
An Iraqi lawmaker said on Saturday that the time is not “suitable” to declare the southern province of Basra as a federal region, days after the launch of campaign from governorate officials to give the region greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Tawfeeq al-Kaabi urged the central government in Baghdad to give more attention to the oil-rich province, saying Basra should be announced as the conflict-stricken country’s “economic capital” in an interview with local channel al-Sumaria News.
Kaabi also described the country’s economy as dependent on Basra’s oil.
He added: “The current time is not suitable to announce a federal region in Basra since we are in a fierce battle against the gang militia of the Islamic State,” referring to the militants who control much of northwestern Iraq.
His statement comes after ex-MP judge and former Basra governor Wael Abdulatif announced on Thursday a campaign to promote Basra as a federal region.
Kurdistan so far is the only federal, semi-autonomous region in Iraq. However, there were previous failed attempts to make the Sunni province of Anbar a federal region.
Opponents of federalization mull such moves as the first steps towards dividing Iraq into smaller states.