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Published:December 19th, 2007 01:22 EST
Iraqi Control of Basra

Iraqi Control of Basra

By SOP newswire

BASRA — Iraqi Provincial Authorities assumed security responsibilities for Basra province here Sunday.

Taking another positive step in Iraqi self-reliance, Basra became the ninth province to meet the joint conditions agreed upon by the Government of Iraq and Multi-National Force-Iraq.

GOI and MNF-I work to find out when a region is ready for transfer based on security resources, proficiency of regional government and the ability of MNF-I to support the region if needed.

It also demonstrates that Basra is building a capable and self-sufficient police and military force designed to handle security situations when they arise, or seek assistance from the national government, according to a Joint Statement by British Chargé d'Affaires Patricia A. Butenis and Gen. David H. Petraeus, commanding general, Multi-National Force-Iraq.

The people of the province can also celebrate that unification is occurring on many levels, and the central and provincial governments are working together. Iraqi Security Forces in Basra have sustained their own security for four months now.  Basra is the ninth of Iraq’s eighteen provinces transferred to provincial authorities under control of the province’s governor.

Iraq’s prime minister announced the provincial transfer plan in June 2005, and in a historic ceremony on July 13, 2006 Muthanna was the first to transfer.

The transfer of provincial security responsibility is particularly significant, because it includes the city of Basra, the second largest city in Iraq and the main port for ocean commerce.

Basra played an important role in early Islamic history and was founded in the first century of Hijra. Basra Province’s capital is Basra. Other major cities include Corna and Az Zubayi and Umm Qasrand Abu al-Khaseeb.

Basra Province borders with Kuwait to the south and Iran to the east and has an area of 11,850 square miles, with an estimated population of about 2.6 million people in 2003.