Located in the far south of Iraq, Basra Governorate is considered the hotspot of the protests that have pervaded different regions of Iraq every summer since 2010. The services crisis in the oil-rich province has long been a fundamental impetus for people to take to the streets in anger, as successive local governments in Basra miserably failed at providing basic services to the population, such as electricity, water, access to schools and safe streets. The system of local governance in Iraq was formed while the institutions of the Iraqi state were being built after 2003, through laws that define its relationship with the federal authority and within the provinces. However, as a result of political, legal, bureaucratic and administrative crises related to applying and understanding the role of local authorities, and due to rampant corruption, the system of local government, as it appears in the case of Basra, has become impotent and in many cases an impediment to the development of Iraqi cities and villages. In the face of this deterioration, protests recur with the approaching summer every year, in what has come to be known as the ‘season of protests’. These protests have been escalating since the summer of 2018 and protracted into 2019 and 2020, turning Basra into one of the hot spots of the protest, leading to dozens of injuries and deaths among protesters.
Basra Governorate: A Locality in Crisis. Local Government Crisis and Conflict with the Federal Government
This research addresses the reasons behind the failure of Basra’s local government in providing services to its citizens and analyses the impact of this failure on the growing distrust between the population and the authorities.