Tribal conflicts escalate in Iraq’s oil heartland

Local authorities are preoccupied with the pandemic and hampered by tangled power structures, prompting the prime minister to pursue a new security strategy.
Tribal conflicts escalate in Iraq’s oil heartland
An ambulance arrives at the Souq al-Shiouk district hospital with Dhi Qar emergency police officers injured during a tribal shootout on June 19, 2020. (STAFF/Iraq Oil Report)

BASRA/NASSIRIYA - Tribal conflicts in southern Iraq have become more frequent and deadly in recent months, as security forces have been hamstrung by local power structures and distracted by the coronavirus lockdown.

The rising violence has drawn the attention of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who is planning to begin implementing a new security plan with a visit to Basra later this month. While the battles do not appear to be affecting the oil sector directly, they threaten to destabilize areas around oil fields responsible for the large majority of Iraq's production.

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