Basra gains clout amidst protests

Locals near the Shell-operated Majnoon oil field staged demonstrations over unemployment, as visiting leaders from Baghdad met provincial demands for more powers and better services.
Faisal Khalaf, deputy director general of the South Oil Company (right), Maeen al-Assadi, deputy Basra province governor (third from right) and other political officials at the Feb. 7, 2012, opening of the jetty at the Majnoon oil field, operated by Royal Dutch Shell. (BEN LANDO/Iraq Oil Report)

BASRA - Hundreds of Basrawis gathered in protest near the Majnoon oil field Tuesday to demand job opportunities - the latest expression of grievances by locals who say they are not benefiting from the province's oil wealth.

"There is a wide range of corruption, nepotism and clientelism that is controlling the recruitment process of the companies in our region," said Falah Mutar, the leader of the protest. "We demand the security authorities hold the negligent accountable."

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