RealNews

Secular Shiites in Iraq Seek Autonomy in Oil-Rich South

With the Aug. 15 deadline for writing a new constitution bearing down, a cadre of powerful, mostly secular Shiite politicians is pushing for the creation of an autonomous region in the oil-rich south of Iraq, posing a direct challenge to the nation’s central authority. The politicians argue that the long-impoverished south has never gotten its fair share of the country’s oil money, even though the bulk of Iraqi oil reserves lie near Basra, at the head of the Persian Gulf. They also say they cannot trust anyone holding power in Baghdad because of the decades of harsh oppression under the Sunni Arab government of Saddam Hussein. Full Story

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