Basra leaders push for federalism

Aug. 11, 2008 at 6:14 PM

BASRA, Iraq, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Iraqi lawmakers from southern Basra province said they, along with tribal leaders, are pushing for a federalized region on par with Iraqi Kurdistan.

The 2005 Iraqi Constitution allows regions and provinces to form their own federal entity within Iraq and establish their own procedures and rules.

Basra Gov. Mohammad Musbah al-Waili and Iraqi Member of Parliament Wail Abdul Latif gathered thousands of signatures from citizens and tribal leaders in southern Iraq in support of a federalized region, Gulf News said.

Both leaders said a federalized Basra would increase the availability of funds from oil revenue for the region rather than "begging the government for funds."

Shiite lawmakers have pushed for a federalized Iraqi with northern, central and southern governorates. Sunnis oppose the measure, in part because their central region of the country lacks the natural resources of their Shiite counterparts.

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