Q&A: Dhi Qar Gov. Ahmed al-Khafaji

Weeks after taking office, Dhi Qar's new governor discusses aspirations for quelling oil protests, raising employment, and attracting investment.
Q&A: Dhi Qar Gov. Ahmed al-Khafaji
Dhi Qar Gov. Ahmed al-Khafaji at the Dhi Qar governorate building in Nassiriya in April 2021. (LIZZIE PORTER/Iraq Oil Report)

NASSIRIYA - The newly appointed governor of southern Iraq's Dhi Qar province, Ahmed al-Khafaji, inherited an array of short-term and long-term crises that have caused major problems for both residents and the oil sector.

A shut-in by job seeking protestors at the Dhi Qar refinery has led to fuel shortages, while protests have continued at other facilities, including offices of the state-run Dhi Qar Oil Company (DQOC), which manages oil fields in the province, as well as the Oil Products Distribution Company (OPDC) and an Oil Pipelines Company depot.

Even as a national protest movement has lost momentum, demonstrations have continued around Dhi Qar, where residents express outrage over a range of grievances — including a lack of job opportunities; poor water, electricity, and other services; and little accountability for previous violence by security forces against protesters.

That upheaval forced former Dhi Qar Gov. Nadhim al-Waeli to resign in February. He was briefly replaced by an interim governor, Abdul Ghani al-Asadi, who is also head of Iraq's National Security Council.

Khafaji was appointed governor in late April.

In one of his first interviews with English-language media since taking office, at the Dhi Qar governorate building in Nassiriya, Khafaji spoke about his efforts to end the refinery sit-in by providing jobs, his aspirations for attracting private-sector investment, and the relentless crises.

"Honestly," he said, "since my first days [on the job], I have been working on dealing with emergency issues."

This content is for registered users. Please login to continue.
If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a subscription or sign up for a free trial.
Iraq Oil Report Attribution Policy

All sources quoted or referenced spoke to Iraq Oil Report directly and exclusively, unless stated otherwise. Iraq Oil Report typically grants anonymity to sources that can't speak without risking their personal safety or job security. We only publish information from anonymous sources that we independently corroborate and are important to core elements of the story. We do not provide anonymity to sources whose purpose is to further personal or political agendas.

Iraq Oil Report Commitment to Independence

Iraq Oil Report strives to provide thoroughly vetted reporting and fair-minded analysis that enables readers to understand the dynamic events of Iraq. To meet this goal, we always seek to gather first-hand information on the ground, verify facts from multiple angles, and solicit input from every stakeholder involved in a given story.

We view our independence as an integral piece of our competitive advantage. Whereas many media entities in Iraq are owned or heavily influenced by political parties, Iraq Oil Report is wholly owned by several of its employees. In a landscape that is often polarized and politicized, we are able to gather and corroborate information from an unusually wide array of sources because we can speak with all of them in good faith.

To fund this enterprise, Iraq Oil Report depends on revenue from both advertising and subscriptions. Some of our advertisers and subscribers ‐ including companies, governments, and NGOs ‐ are also subjects of our reporting. Consistent with journalistic best practices, Iraq Oil Report maintains a strict firewall that removes business considerations from editorial decision-making. When we are choosing which stories to report and how to write them, our readers always come first.