Basra

Basra (Arabic: البصرةal-Baṣrah) is an Iraqi city located on the Shatt al-Arab between Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of 2.5 million in 2012.[2] Basra is also Iraq's main port, although it does not have deep water access, which is handled at the port of Umm Qasr.

The city is one of the ports from which Sinbad the Sailor journeyed. It played an important role in early Islamic history and was built in 636. Basra is consistently one of the hottest cities in Iraq, with summer temperatures regularly exceeding 50 °C (122 °F). In April 2017, the Iraqi Parliament recognized Basra as Iraq's economic capital.[3]

Basra

البَصرة
Basra city
Basra city
Nickname(s): 
Venice of the East[1]
Basra is located in Iraq
Basra
Basra
Location of Basra within Iraq
Basra is located in Asia
Basra
Basra
Basra (Asia)
Coordinates: 30°30′N 47°49′E / 30.500°N 47.817°E
Country Iraq
GovernorateBasra Governorate
Founded636 AD
Government
 • TypeMayor-council
 • MayorAs'ad Al Eidani
Area
 • City50–75 km2 (Formatting error: invalid input when rounding sq mi)
 • Metro
181 km2 (70 sq mi)
Elevation
5 m (16 ft)
Population
(2017)[2]
 • City2,150,000
 • Metro
2,850,000
Time zone+3 GMT
Area code(s)(+964) 40
Websitehttp://www.basra.gov.iq/

Etymology

AMH-5342-NA View of Basra and 'Gordelaan' castle
View of Basra in circa 1695, by Dutch cartographer Isaak de Graaf

The city was called by many names throughout its history, Basrah being the most common. In Arabic the word baṣrah means "the overwatcher", which might have been an allusion to the city's origin as an Arab military base against the Sassanids. Others have argued that the name is derived from the Aramaic word basratha, meaning "place of huts, settlement".[4]

Early Islamic Era

Ministry of Information First World War Official Collection Q25671
Ashar Creek and bazaar, c. 1915

Rashidun Caliphate (632–661)

The city was founded at the beginning of the Islamic era in 636 and began as a garrison encampment for Arab tribesmen constituting the armies of the Rashid Caliph Umar. A tell a few kilometres south of the present city, still marks the original site which was a military site. While defeating the forces of the Sassanid Empire there, the Muslim commander Utbah ibn Ghazwan erected his camp on the site of an old Persian military settlement called Vaheštābād Ardašīr, which was destroyed by the Arabs.[5] The name Al-Basrah, which in Arabic means "the over watching" or "the seeing everything", was given to it because of its role as a military base against the Sassanid Empire. However, other sources claim the name originates from the Persian word Bas-rāh or Bassorāh meaning "where many ways come together".[6]

In 639 Umar established this encampment as a city with five districts, and appointed Abu Musa al-Ash'ari as its first governor. Abu Musa led the conquest of Khuzestan from 639 to 642 and was ordered by Umar to aid Uthman ibn Abu al-ʿAs, then fighting Iran from a new, more easterly miṣr at Tawwaj. In 650, the Rashidun Caliph Uthman reorganised the Persian frontier, installed ʿAbdullah ibn Amir as Basra's governor, and put the military's southern wing under Basra's control. Ibn Amir led his forces to their final victory over Yazdegerd III, the Sassanid King of Kings.

In 656, Uthman was murdered and Ali was appointed Caliph. Ali first installed Uthman ibn Hanif as Basra's governor, who was followed by ʿAbdullah ibn ʿAbbas. These men held the city for Ali until the latter's death in 661.

Umayyad Caliphate(661–750)

Sufyanids (661–684)

The Sufyanids held Basra until Yazid I's death in 683. The Sufyanids' first governor was Umayyad ʿAbdullah, a renowned military leader, commanding fealty and financial demands from Karballah, but poor governor. In 664, Muʿawiyah I replaced him with Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan, often called "ibn Abihi" ("son of his own father"), who became infamous for his draconian rules regarding public order. On Ziyad's death in 673, his son ʿUbaydullah ibn Ziyad became governor. In 680, Yazid I ordered ʿUbaydullah to keep order in Kufa as a reaction to Hussein ibn Ali's popularity as the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. ʿUbaydullah took over the control of Kufa. Hussein sent his cousin as an ambassador to the people of Kufa, but ʿUbaydullah executed Hussein's cousin Muslim ibn Aqeel amid fears of an uprising. ʿUbaydullah amassed an army of thousands of soldiers and fought Hussein's army of approximately 70 in a place called Karbala near Kufa. ʿUbaydullah's army was victorious; Hussein and his followers were killed and their heads were sent to Yazid as proof.

Ibn al-Harith spent his year in office trying to put down Nafi' ibn al-Azraq's Kharijite uprising in Khuzestan. In 685, Ibn al-Zubayr, requiring a practical ruler, appointed Umar ibn Ubayd Allah ibn Ma'mar[7] Finally, Ibn al-Zubayr appointed his own brother Mus'ab. In 686, the revolutionary al-Mukhtar led an insurrection at Kufa, and put an end to ʿUbaydullah ibn Ziyad near Mosul. In 687, Musʿab defeated al-Mukhtar with the help of Kufans who Mukhtar exiled.[8]

ʿAbd al-Malik (685–705)

Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan reconquered Basra in 691, and Basra remained loyal to his governor al-Hajjaj during Ibn Ashʿath's mutiny (699–702). However, Basra did support the rebellion of Yazid ibn al-Muhallab against Yazid II during the 720s.

Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258)

In the 740s, Basra fell to as-Saffah of the Abbasid Caliphate. During the time of the Abbasids, Basra became an intellectual centre and home to the elite Basra School of Grammar, the rival and sister school of the Kufa School of Grammar. Several outstanding intellectuals of the age were Basrans; Arab polymath Ibn al-Haytham, the Arab literary giant al-Jahiz, and the Sufi mystic Rabia Basri. The Zanj Rebellion by the agricultural slaves of the lowlands affected the area. In 871, the Zanj sacked Basra.[9] In 923, the Qarmatians, an extremist Muslim sect, invaded and devastated Basra.[9]

Buyid Dynasty (945–1055)

From 945 to 1055, a Buyid dynasty ruled Baghdad and most of Iraq. Abu al Qasim al-Baridis, who still controlled Basra and Wasit, were defeated and their lands taken by the Buyids in 947. Adud al-Dawla and his sons Diya' al-Dawla and Samsam al-Dawla were the Buyid rulers of Basra during the 970s, 980s and 990s. Sanad al-Dawla al-Habashi (ca.921–977), the brother of the Emir of Iraq Izz al-Dawla, was governor of Basra and built a library of 15,000 books.

Seljuq Dynasty (1055–1194)

The Oghuz Turk Tughril Beg was the leader of the Seljuks, who expelled the Shiite Buyid dynasty. He was the first Seljuk ruler to style himself Sultan and Protector of the Abbasid Caliphate.

Islamic Golden Age

The Great Friday Mosque was constructed in Basra. In 1122, Imad ad-Din Zengi received Basra as a fief.[10] In 1126, Zengi suppressed a revolt and in 1129, Dabis looted the Basra state treasury. A 1200 map "on the eve of the Mongol invasions" shows the Abbasid Caliphate as ruling lower Iraq and, presumably, Basra.

The Assassin Rashid-ad-Din-Sinan was born in Basra on or between 1131 and 1135.

In 1258, the Mongols under Hulegu Khan sacked Baghdad and ended Abbasid rule. By some accounts, Basra capitulated to the Mongols to avoid a massacre. The Mamluk Bahri dynasty map (1250–1382) shows Basra as being under their area of control, and the Mongol Dominions map (1300–1405) shows Basra as being under their control.

In 1290[11] fighting erupted at the Persian Gulf port of Basra among the Genoese, between the Guelph and the Ghibelline factions.

Ibn Battuta visited Basra in the 14th century, noting it "was renowned throughout the whole world, spacious in area and elegant in its courts, remarkable for its numerous fruit-gardens and its choice fruits, since it is the meeting place of the two seas, the salt and the fresh."[12] Ibn Battuta also noted that Basra consisted of three quarters: the Hudayl quarter, the Banu Haram quarter, and the Iranian quarter (mahallat al-Ajam).[13] Fred Donner adds: "If the first two reveal that Basra was still predominantly an Arab town, the existence of an Iranian quarter clearly reveals the legacy of long centuries of intimate contact between Basra and the Iranian plateau."[13]

Period thereafter

In 1411, the Jalayirid leader was ousted from Basra by the Black Sheep Turkmen (Kara Koyunlu). The White Sheep Turkmen (Ak Koyunlu) took Basra after defeating the Kara Koyunlu.[14] Basra was a quasi-independent emirate under the Ak Koyunlu.[14] After ending the Ak Koyunlu, Safavid ruler Ismail I (r1501–1524) acquired its territory in what is present-day Iraq; the ruler of Basra, Sheikh Afrasiyab, came to Shiraz in 1504 to pledge his allegiance to Ismail I.[14] Ismail I in turn confirmed him in his possessions and position as governor (vali) of Basra.[14]

In 1523, the Portuguese under the command of António Tenreiro crossed from Aleppo to Basra. By 1546, the Turks had reached Basra. In 1550, the Portuguese threatened Basra. In 1624, the Portuguese assisted Basra Pasha in repelling a Persian invasion. The Portuguese were granted a share of customs and freedom from tolls. From about 1625 until 1668, Basra and the Delta marshlands were in the hands of local chieftains independent of the Ottoman administration at Baghdad.

Ottoman Empire

Ministry of Information First World War Official Collection Q25704
Arab girls, c. 1917

Basra was, for a long time, a flourishing commercial and cultural centre. It was captured by the Ottoman Empire in 1668. It was fought over by Turks and Persians and was the scene of repeated attempts at resistance. From 1697 to 1701, Basra was once again under Safavid control.[15]

The Zand Dynasty under Karim Khan Zand briefly occupied Basra after a long siege in 1775-9. The Zands attempted at introducing Usuli form of Shiism on a basically Akhbari Shia Basrans. The shortness of the Zand rule rendered this untenable.

In 1911, the Encyclopaedia Britannica reported "about 4000 Jews and perhaps 6000 Christians"[16] living in Basra, but no Turks other than Ottoman officials. In 1884 the Ottomans responded to local pressure from the Shi'as of the south by detaching the southern districts of the Baghdad vilayet and creating a new vilayet of Basra.

World Wars

Ministry of Information First World War Official Collection Q25688
Turkish prisoners passing along the bank of Ashar Creek, nearing Whiteley's Bridge, Basra 1917.

After the Battle of Basra (1914) during World War I, the occupying British modernized the port (works designed by Sir George Buchanan); these British commercial interests made it one of the most important ports in the Persian Gulf "with shipping and trade links to the Far East.

During World War II it was an important port through which flowed much of the equipment and supplies sent to Russia by the other allies. At the end of the Second World War, the population was some 93,000 people.

Post 1945

Old city of Basra 1954
Shanasheel of the old part of Basra city, 1954

The population of Basra was 101,535 in 1947[17], and reached 219,167 in 1957.[18] The University of Basrah was founded in 1964. By 1977, the population had risen to a peak population of some 1.5 million. The population declined during the Iran–Iraq War, being under 900,000 in the late 1980s, possibly reaching a low point of just over 400,000 during the worst of the war. The city was repeatedly shelled by Iran and was the site of many fierce battles, such as Operation Ramadan and Operation Karbala 5.

After the war, Saddam erected 99 memorial statues to Iraqi generals and commanders killed during the war along the bank of the Shatt-al-arab river, all pointing their fingers towards Iran.

After the first Persian Gulf War, which the US called Operation Desert Storm, in 1991, a rebellion struck Basra. The widespread revolt was against Saddam Hussein who violently put down the rebellion, with much death and destruction inflicted on Basra.

1999: Second revolt

Basra Dockyard
Model of Basra Dockyard

On 25 January 1999, Basra was the scene of scores of civilian casualties when a missile fired by a US warplane was dropped in a civilian area. Eleven persons were killed and fifty-nine injured. General Anthony Zinni, then commander of US forces in the Persian Gulf, acknowledged that it was possible that "a missile may have been errant". While such casualty numbers pale in comparison to later events, the bombing occurred one day after Arab foreign ministers, meeting in Egypt, refused to condemn four days of air strikes against Iraq in December 1998. This was described by Iraqi information minister Human Abdel-Khaliq[a] as giving the United States and Britain "an Arab green card" to attack Iraq.[19]

A second revolt in 1999 led to mass executions in and around Basra. Subsequently, the Iraqi government deliberately neglected the city, and much commerce was diverted to Umm Qasr. These alleged abuses are to feature amongst the charges against the former regime to be considered by the Iraq Special Tribunal set up by the Iraq Interim Government following the 2003 invasion.

Workers in Basra's oil industry have been involved in extensive organization and labour conflict. They held a two-day strike in August 2003, and formed the nucleus of the independent General Union of Oil Employees (GUOE) in June 2004. The union held a one-day strike in July 2005, and publicly opposes plans for privatizing the industry.

2003–07: Iraq War and occupation

In March through to May 2003, the outskirts of Basra were the scene of some of the heaviest fighting in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. British forces, led by the 7th Armoured Brigade, took the city on 6 April 2003. This city was the first stop for the United States and the United Kingdom during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

On 21 April 2004, a series of bomb blasts ripped through the city, killing 74 people. The Multi-National Division (South-East), under British Command, was engaged in Security and Stabilization missions in Basra Governorate and surrounding areas during this time. Political groups centred in Basra were reported to have close links with political parties already in power in the Iraqi government, despite opposition from Iraqi Sunnis and the more secular Kurds. January 2005 elections saw several radical politicians gain office, supported by religious parties. American journalist Steven Vincent, who had been researching and reporting on corruption and militia activity in the city, was kidnapped and killed on 2 August 2005.[20]

On 19 September 2005, two undercover British SAS soldiers disguised in Arab civilian clothes and headdresses opened fire on Iraqi police officers after having been stopped at a roadblock, killing at least one. After the two soldiers were arrested, the British Army raided the jail they were being held in to rescue them, killing several people from among their nominal allies – the Iraqi security forces.[21][22]

British troops transferred control of Basra province to the Iraqi authorities in 2007, four-and-a-half years after the invasion.[23] A BBC survey of local residents found that 86% thought the presence of British troops since 2003 had had an overall negative effect on the province.[24]

Major-General Abdul Jalil Khalaf was appointed Police Chief by the central government with the task of taking on the militias. He was outspoken against the targeting of women by the militias.[25] Talking to the BBC, he said that his determination to tackle the militia had led to almost daily assassination attempts.[26] This was taken as sign that he was serious in opposing the militias.[27]

2008

In March 2008, the Iraqi Army launched a major offensive, code-named Saulat al-Fursan (Charge of the White Knights), aimed at forcing the Mahdi Army out of Basra. The assault was planned by General Mohan Furaiji and approved by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.[28]

In April 2008, following the failure to disarm militant groups, both Major-General Abdul Jalil Khalaf and General Mohan Furaiji were removed from their positions in Basra.[29]

2014

Basra was scheduled to host the 22nd Arabian Gulf Cup tournament in Basra Sports City, a newly built multi-use sports complex. The tournament was shifted to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, after concerns over preparations and security. Iraq was also due to host the 2013 tournament, but that was moved to Bahrain.

2018

At least 10 demonstrators died as they protested against the lack of clean drinking water and electrical power in the city during the height of summer in 2018. Some protesters stormed the Iranian consulate in the city.[30]

Geography

Basra at night
Basra at night
Basra Times Square Shopping centre
Basra Times square shopping centre

Basra is located on the Shatt-Al-Arab waterway, downstream of which is the Persian Gulf. The Shatt-Al-Arab and Basra waterways define the eastern and western borders of Basra, respectively. The city is penetrated by a complex network of canals and streams, vital for irrigation and other agricultural use. These canals were once used to transport goods and people throughout the city, but during the last two decades, pollution and a continuous drop in water levels have made river navigation impossible in the canals. Basra is roughly 110 km (68 mi) from the Persian Gulf.

Climate

Basra has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh), like the rest of the surrounding region, though it receives slightly more precipitation than inland locations due to its location near the coast. During the summer months, from June to August, Basra is consistently one of the hottest cities on the planet, with temperatures regularly exceeding 50 °C (122 °F) in July and August. In winter Basra experiences mild weather with average high temperatures around 20 °C (68 °F). On some winter nights, minimum temperatures are below 0 °C (32 °F). High humidity – sometimes exceeding 90% – is common due to the proximity to the marshy Persian Gulf.

An all-time high temperature was recorded on July 22, 2016, when daytime readings soared to 53.8 °C (128.8 °F). This is one of the hottest temperatures ever measured on the planet. The following night, the night time low temperature was 38.8 °C (101.8 °F), which was one of the highest minimum temperatures on any given day, only outshone by Khasab, Oman and Death Valley, California, USA. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Basra was −4.7 °C (23.5 °F) on January 22, 1964[31].

Climate data for Basra
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 34
(93)
29
(84)
39
(102)
42
(108)
48
(118)
51
(124)
54
(129)
51
(124)
49
(120)
43
(109)
37
(99)
30
(86)
54
(129)
Average high °C (°F) 17.7
(63.9)
20.0
(68.0)
24.5
(76.1)
30.6
(87.1)
36.8
(98.2)
39.7
(103.5)
41.3
(106.3)
41.8
(107.2)
39.9
(103.8)
34.9
(94.8)
27.1
(80.8)
20.3
(68.5)
31.2
(88.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) 12.2
(54.0)
14.2
(57.6)
18.3
(64.9)
23.9
(75.0)
30.2
(86.4)
32.9
(91.2)
34.3
(93.7)
33.9
(93.0)
31.2
(88.2)
26.4
(79.5)
20.4
(68.7)
14.5
(58.1)
24.4
(75.9)
Average low °C (°F) 6.8
(44.2)
8.4
(47.1)
12.2
(54.0)
17.2
(63.0)
23.6
(74.5)
26.2
(79.2)
27.4
(81.3)
26.1
(79.0)
22.6
(72.7)
18.0
(64.4)
13.7
(56.7)
8.7
(47.7)
17.6
(63.7)
Record low °C (°F) −4.7
(23.5)
−4
(25)
1.9
(35.4)
2.8
(37.0)
8.2
(46.8)
18.2
(64.8)
22.2
(72.0)
20
(68)
13.1
(55.6)
6.1
(43.0)
1
(34)
−2.6
(27.3)
−4.7
(23.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 31
(1.2)
21
(0.8)
19
(0.7)
17
(0.7)
5
(0.2)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
3
(0.1)
23
(0.9)
33
(1.3)
152
(5.9)
Average rainy days 6 5 5 4 2 0 0 0 0 1 4 5 32
Mean monthly sunshine hours 186 198 217 248 279 330 341 310 300 279 210 186 3,084
Mean daily sunshine hours 6 7 7 8 9 11 11 10 10 9 7 6 8
Source #1: Climate-Data.org[32]
Source #2: Weather2Travel for rainy days and sunshine[33]

Demographics

Church-In Basra-Iraq كنيسة في البصرة العراق
A Chaldean Catholic Church in Basra.

In Basra the vast majority of the population are ethnic Arabs of the Adnanite or the Qahtanite tribes. The tribes located in Basra include Al-Emarah, Bani Mansour, Dulaim, Shammar, Jubur, Bani Tamim, Bani Malik, Zubaid, Al-shwelat, Suwa'id, Al-bo Mohammed, Al-Badr, Al-Ubadi, Ruba'ah Sayyid tribes (descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammed) and other Arab tribes.

In addition to the Arabs, there is also a community of Afro-Iraqi peoples, known as Zanj. The Zanj are a Muslim Ethnic group living in Iraq and are a mix of African peoples taken from the coast of the area of modern-day Kenya as slaves in the 900s. They now number around 200,000 in Iraq.

Religion

Basra is a major Shia city, with the old Akhbari Shiism progressively being overwhelmed by the Usuli Shiism. The Sunni population is tiny and dropping in their percentage as more Iraqi Shias move into Basra for various job or welfare opportunities. The satellite town of Az Zubayr in the direction of Kuwait was a Sunni town, but the burgeoning population of Basra has spilled over into Zubair, turning it into an extension of Basra with a slight Shia majority as well.

Assyrians were recorded in the Ottoman census as early as 1911, and a small number of them live in Basra. However, a significant number of the modern community are refugees fleeing persecution from ISIS in the Nineveh Plains, Mosul, and northern Iraq. But ever since the liberation of ISIS in Iraq many Christians have returned to their Homeland in the Nineveh plains. In 2018 there are about a few thousand Christians in Basra. One of the largest communities of pre-Islamic Mandaeans live in the city, whose headquarters was in the area formerly called Suk esh-Sheikh.

Cityscape

Basrah
Old Basrah
  • The old mosque of Basra, the first mosque in Islam outside the Arabian peninsula.
  • Sinbad Island is located in the centre of Shatt Al-Arab, near the Miinaalmakl, and extends above the bridge Khaled and is a tourist landmark.
  • Sayab's House Ruins is the site of the most famous home of the poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab. There is also a statue of Sayab, one of the statues in Basra done by the artist and sculptor nada' Kadhum, located on al-Basrah Corniche; it was unveiled in 1972.
  • Basra Sports City is the largest sport city in the Middle East, located on the Shatt al-Basra.
  • Palm tree forests are largely located on the shores of shatt-al Arab waterway, especially in the nearby village of Abu Al-Khasib.
  • Corniche al-Basra is a street which runs on the shore of the Shatt al-Arab; it goes from the Lion of Babylon Square to the Four Palaces.
  • Basra International Hotel (formally known as Basra Sheraton Hotel) is located on the Corniche street. The only five star hotel in the city, it is notable for its Shanasheel style exterior design. The hotel was heavily looted during the Iraq War, and it has been renovated recently.
  • Sayyed Ali al-Musawi Mosque, also known as the Mosque of the Children of Amer, is located in the city centre, on Al-Gazear Street, and it was built for Shia Imami's leader Sayyed Ali al-Moussawi, whose followers lived in Iraq and neighbouring countries.
  • The Fun City of Basra, which is now called Basra Land, is one of the oldest theme-park entertainment cities in the south of the country, and the largest involving a large number of games giants. It was damaged during the war, and has been rebuilt.
  • Akhora Park is one of the city's older parks. It is located on al-Basra Street.
  • There are four formal presidential palaces in Basra.
  • The Latin Church is located on the 14th of July Street.
  • Indian Market (Amogaiz) is one of the main bazaars in the city. It is called the Indian Market, since it had Indian vendors working there at the beginning of the last century.
  • Hanna-Sheikh Bazaar is an old market; it was established by the powerful and famous Hanna-Sheikh family.

Economy

The city is located along the Shatt al-Arab waterway, 55 kilometers (34 mi) from the Persian Gulf and 545 kilometers (339 mi) from Baghdad, Iraq's capital and largest city. Its economy is largely dependent on the oil industry. Iraq has the world's 4th largest oil reserves estimated to be more 115 billion barrels (18.3×109 m3). Some of Iraq's largest oil fields are located in the province, and most of Iraq's oil exports leave from Al Basrah Oil Terminal. The South Oil Company has its headquarters in the city.

Substantial economic activity in Basra is centred around the petrochemical industry, which includes the Southern Fertilizer Company and The State Company for Petrochemical Industries (SCPI). The Southern Fertilizer Company produces ammonia solution, urea and nitrogen gas, while the SCPI focus on such products as ethylene, caustic/chlorine, vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), low-density polyethylene, and high-density polyethylene

Basra is in a fertile agricultural region, with major products including rice, maize corn, barley, pearl millet, wheat, dates, and livestock. For a long time, Basra was known for the superior quality of its dates.[16] Basra was known in the 1960s for its sugar market, a fact that figured heavily in the English contract law remoteness of damages case The Heron II [1969] 1 AC 350.

Shipping, logistics and transport are also major industries in Basra. Basra is home to all of Iraq's six ports; Umm Qasr is the main deep-water port with 22 platforms, some of which are dedicated to specific goods (such as sulphur, seeds, lubricant oil, etc.) The other five ports are smaller in scale and more narrowly specialized. Fishing was an important business before the oil boom. The city also has an international airport, with service into Baghdad with Iraqi Airways—the national airline.

Sports

Basra International Stadium Opening
Basra International Stadium Opening

The city is home to the sports team Al-Mina'a. Its basketball division is among the Arab elite teams that compete at the Arab Club Basketball Championship.

In fiction

  • In Voltaire's Zadig "Bassora" is the site of an international market where the hero meets representatives of all the world religions and concludes that "the world is one large family which meets at Bassora".
  • The city of Basra has a major role in H. G. Wells's 1933 future history "The Shape of Things to Come", where the "Modern State" is at the centre of a world state emerging after a collapse of civilization, and becomes in effect the capital of the world.
  • In the 1940 film The Thief of Bagdad, Ahmad and Abu flee to the city from Bagdad. Ahmad falls in love with the sultan's beautiful daughter, who is also desired by his enemy, and former Grand Vizier, Jaffar.
  • In Scott K. Andrews' "Operation Motherland", the second book in the post-apocalyptic "Afterblight Chronicles", the character Lee Keegan crash lands his plane in the streets of Basra during the opening chapter.

Famous citizens

Twin towns – sister cities

Basra is twinned with:

See also

Notes

  1. ^ His proper name and position description appears to be in error, in that he appears to have held a more junior role at the time. Humam Abd al-Khaliq Abd al-Ghafur was Iraqi Information Minister between 1997 and 2001. The Iraqi Information Minister between 1991 and 1996 was Hamid Yusuf Hammadi. See List of Iraqi Information Ministers.

References

  1. ^ Sam Dagher (18 September 2007). "In the 'Venice of the East,' a history of diversity". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Basra city Profile" (PDF). UN Joint Analysis Unit. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Iraqi parliament recognizes Basra as economic capital".
  4. ^ Merchants, Mamluks, and Murder: The Political Economy of Trade in Eighteenth ... – Thabit Abdullah – Google Boeken
  5. ^ Encyclopædia Iranica, E. Yarshater, Columbia University, p851
  6. ^ See Mohammadi Malayeri, M. Dil-i Iranshahr.
  7. ^ (Madelung p. 303–04)
  8. ^ (Brock p.66)
  9. ^ a b Andre Wink, Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World, Vol.2, 17.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  10. ^ Penny Encyclopedia
  11. ^ Buscarello de Ghizolfi
  12. ^ Battutah, Ibn (2002). The Travels of Ibn Battutah. London: Picador. p. 60. ISBN 9780330418799.
  13. ^ a b Donner, F.M. (1988). "BASRA". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. III, Fasc. 8. pp. 851–855.
  14. ^ a b c d Floor 2008, p. 165.
  15. ^ Matthee, Rudi (2006). "IRAQ iv. RELATIONS IN THE SAFAVID PERIOD". Encyclopaedia Iranica (Vol. XIII, Fasc. 5 and Vol. XIII, Fasc. 6). pp. 556–560, 561.
  16. ^ a b Wikisource "Basra" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 489.
  17. ^ "Population of capital city and cities of 100,000 or more inhabitants". Demographic Yearbook 1955. New York: Statistical Office of the United Nations.
  18. ^ "National Intelligence Survey. Iraq. Section 41, Population" (PDF). CIA. 1960.
  19. ^ Paul Koring (26 January 1999). "USAF air strikes kill 11, injure 59: Iraq". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. p. A8. These air strikes, by British and USAF warplanes and U.S. cruise missiles, were said to be in response to a release of a report by UN weapons inspectors stating that, as of 1998, the government of Iraq was obstructing their inspection work. Following the four days of bombing in December, the Iraqi government commenced challenging the "no fly zones" unilaterally imposed on the country by the United States, following the 1991 Persian Gulf war. During the month of January, 1999, there were more than 100 incursions by Iraqi aircraft and 20 instances of Iraqi surface-to-air missiles being filed. The January bombing of Basra occurred in the context of retaliatory attacks by the United States.
  20. ^ "Steven Vincent". Committee to Protect Journalists. 2005.
  21. ^ "UK soldiers 'freed from militia'". BBC. 20 September 2005. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  22. ^ "British smash jail walls to free 2 arrested soldiers". San Francisco Chronicle. 20 September 2005. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  23. ^ "UK troops return Basra to Iraqis". BBC News. 16 December 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  24. ^ "Basra residents blame UK troops". BBC News. 14 December 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  25. ^ "Basra militants targeting women". BBC News. 15 November 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  26. ^ "Basra: The Legacy". BBC News. 17 December 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  27. ^ "Uncertainty follows Basra exit". BBC News. 15 December 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  28. ^ Glanz, James (27 March 2008). "Iraqi Army's Assault on Militias in Basra Stalls". New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
  29. ^ "Basra security leaders removed". BBC News. 16 April 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  30. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-protests/protesters-in-basra-storm-iranian-consulate-as-deadly-demonstrations-rage-idUSKCN1LN1M9
  31. ^ "Iraqi Meteorological Department, 1970" (PDF). Iraqi Meteorological Department. 1970.
  32. ^ "Climate: Basra – Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  33. ^ "Basra Climate and Weather Averages, Iraq". Weather2Travel. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  34. ^ "Twin-cities of Azerbaijan". Azerbaijans.com. Retrieved 2013-08-09.

Bibliography

  • Floor, Willem M. (2008). Titles and Emoluments in Safavid Iran: A Third Manual of Safavid Administration, by Mirza Naqi Nasiri. Washington, DC: Mage Publishers. ISBN 978-1933823232.
  • Hallaq, Wael. The Origins and Evolution of Islamic Law. Cambridge University Press, 2005
  • Hawting, Gerald R. The First Dynasty of Islam. Routledge. 2nd ed, 2000
  • Madelung, Wilferd. "Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr and the Mahdi" in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies 40. 1981. pp. 291–305.
  • Vincent, Stephen. Into The Red Zone: A Journey Into the Soul of Iraq. ISBN 1-890626-57-0.

External links

Coordinates: 30°30′N 47°49′E / 30.500°N 47.817°E

2011 Basra bombings

The 2011 Basra bombings were three bombing attacks in a busy market in Basra, Iraq, on November 24, 2011, that killed at least 19 people and wounded at least 65 more. The first bomb, concealed in a motorbike, exploded initially while the two other bombs exploded as security forces responded to the scene. As a result most of the casualties in the bombing were troops and policemen. It was the second triple bombing in Basra in just over three weeks. Ali al-Maliki, the head of the Basra provincial council security committee said, "The fingerprints of Baathists and al Qaeda are clear in these explosions." The bombing took place one day before a major energy conference was due to take place.

21 April 2004 Basra bombings

On April 21, 2004, a series of large car bomb explosions ripped through Basra, Iraq. Seventy-four people died and more than 100 were injured. The attacks were some of the deadliest in southern Iraq since the fall of President Saddam Hussein.

Anglo-Iraqi War

The Anglo–Iraqi War (2–31 May 1941) was a British-led Allied military campaign against the Kingdom of Iraq led by the Axis aligned government of Rashid Ali, which had seized power during the Second World War. The campaign resulted in the downfall of Ali's government, the re-occupation of Iraq by the British Empire, and the return to power of the Regent of Iraq, Prince 'Abd al-Ilah, an ally to imperial Britain.

Az Zubayr

Az Zubayr (Arabic: الزبير‎) is a city in and the capital of Al-Zubair District, part of the Basra Governorate of Iraq. The city is just south of Basra. The name can also refer to the old Emirate of Zubair.

The name is also sometimes written Al Zubayr, Al Zubair, Az Zubair, Zubair, Zoubair, El Zubair, or Zobier.

Baghdad–Basra high-speed rail line

The Baghdad–Basra rail line is a railway line that operates since 2014 between the cities of Baghdad and Basra in Iraq. The line is roughly 650 kilometres (400 mi) long, with intermediate cities including Karbala, Musayyib, Najaf, and Samawah. The line was planned to be high-speed, allowing a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), but operates at a lower speed. There is one train service per day, taking 10 - 12 hours, in each direction. Both are at night. the trains is a new train made in China.

Basra-ye Bala

Basra-ye Bala (Persian: بصرابالا‎, also Romanized as Başrā-ye Bālā; also known as Bālā Başrā and Başrā) is a village in Karipey Rural District, Lalehabad District, Babol County, Mazandaran Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 473, in 119 families.

Basra-ye Pain

Basra-ye Pain (Persian: بصراپايين‎, also Romanized as Başrā-ye Pā’īn; also known as Pā’īn Başrā and Pā’īn Başreh) is a village in Karipey Rural District, Lalehabad District, Babol County, Mazandaran Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 537, in 128 families.

Basra Governorate

Basra Governorate (Arabic: محافظة البصرة‎‎ Muḥāfaẓa al-Baṣra) (or Basra Province) is a governorate in southern Iraq, bordering Kuwait to the south and Iran to the east. The capital is the city of Basra. Other districts of Basra include Al-Qurnah, Az Zubayr, Al Midaina, Shatt Al Arab, Abu Al Khaseeb and Al Faw located on the Persian Gulf.

Basra International Airport

Basrah International Airport (Arabic: مطار البصرة الدولي‎) (IATA: BSR, ICAO: ORMM) is the second largest international airport in Iraq, and is located in the southern city of Basra.

Basra Vilayet

The Basra Vilayet (Ottoman language: ولايت بصره‎, Vilâyet-i Basra) was a first-level administrative division (vilayet) of the Ottoman Empire. It historically covered an area stretching from Nasiriyah and Amarah in the north to Kuwait in the south. To the south and the west, there was theoretically no border at all, yet no areas beyond Qatar in the south and the Najd Sanjak in the west were later on included in the administrative system.At the beginning of the 20th century it reportedly had an area of 16,482 square miles (42,690 km2), while the preliminary results of the first Ottoman census of 1885 (published in 1908) gave the population as 200,000. The accuracy of the population figures ranges from "approximate" to "merely conjectural" depending on the region from which they were gathered.The capital of the vilayet, Basra, was an important military centre, with a permanent garrison of 400 to 500 men, and was home to the Ottoman Navy in the Persian Gulf.

Basra prison incident

The Basra prison incident was an event involving British troops in Basra, Iraq. On 19 September 2005, two undercover British Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers disguised in Arab civilian garments and headdresses opened fire on Iraqi Police officers after having been stopped at a roadblock. Two Iraqi officers were shot, at least one of whom died. The two British men were arrested and taken to the Al Jameat police station.

The two SAS operators were part of Operation Hathor whose objective was keeping an Iraqi Police officer (who ran a crime unit with rumoured links to corruption and brutality in the city) under surveillance. Tension was already high between the Iraqi Police and British forces and when Iraqi policeman tried to pull the operators from their vehicle at the roadblock, they opened fire, killing two of the policemen. The SAS men drove off with Iraqi Police in pursuit, but feeling they couldn't outrun them they decided to stop and talk their way out of it. The Iraqi police beat and arrested them.In response, twenty members of A Squadron 22nd SAS Regiment and a platoon of paratroopers from the Special Forces Support Group flew from Baghdad to Basra. Other SAS operators tracked down their two colleagues to Al Jameat police station and then withdrew and called in Hathor's QRF (Quick Reaction Force) in Basra, whilst a predator drone fed the UK JOC a live feed on the prison.British tanks and infantry encircled the jail where the men (whose photographs had been widely circulated but whose names had not been made public) were being held. A crowd gathered and began throwing stones and petrol bombs at the tanks, setting at least one ablaze. Three British soldiers were injured and, according to some reports, two demonstrators were killed.New intelligence suggested that the two prisoners had been moved to a house not far from the prison and the British feared that they would be executed by Iraqi Hezbollah. Because of this, the rescue plan was altered so that a few members of A squadron would assault the prison with regular army personnel and vehicles while the main SAS ground force assaulted the house. After nightfall, around 9pm, the British Army stormed the prison and house where the SAS men were being held. The SAS assault on the house met no resistance; they found the two prisoners in a locked room.According to the governor of Basra province, Mohammed al-Waili, the British had used "more than ten tanks backed by helicopters" to carry out the raid. The assault on the prison was spearheaded by Warrior IFV's and Challenger tanks breaking down the walls and destroying cars and flimsy buildings. The British assault allowed 150 prisoners to flee the prison.The Ministry of Defence initially denied storming the prison. In later statements, it said that the soldiers would have likely been killed, and that the police force had been infiltrated by illegal militia groups.Muhammad al-Waili denounced the event as "barbaric, savage and irresponsible".

On 25 December 2006, British troops again raided the Al Jameat station, killing seven gunmen and freeing 127 prisoners being held by Shia militias there. They then blew up the building. A British Army spokesperson stated that the 127 prisoners freed had been tortured and that there were fears that they were about to be executed.

Battle of Basra (2003)

The Battle of Basra lasted from 21 March to 6 April 2003 and was one of the first battles of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The British 7 Armoured Brigade fought their way into Iraq's second-largest city, Basra, on 6 April coming under constant attack by the Iraqi Army 51st Division and Fedayeen. While elements of the Parachute Regiment cleared the 'old quarter' of the city that was inaccessible to vehicles. Entering Basra had only been achieved after two weeks of conflict, which included the biggest tank battle of the war by British forces when the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards destroyed 14 Iraqi tanks on 27 March.

Battle of Basra (2008)

The Battle of Basra began on 25 March 2008, when the Iraqi Army launched an operation (code-named Saulat al-Fursan, meaning Operation Charge of the Knights in Arabic) to drive the Mahdi Army militia out of the southern Iraqi city of Basra. The operation was the first major operation to be planned and carried out by the Iraqi Army since the invasion of 2003.

Coalition and Iraqi aircraft patrolled the skies above Basra providing intelligence and carrying out air strikes in support of Iraqi forces on the ground. Coalition forces provided embedded military transition teams (MiTTs) in Iraqi Army units and American special forces also conducted joint operations with ISOF units.Iraqi forces faced heavy resistance from Mahdi Army militia inside the city and the offensive stalled, requiring American and British air and artillery support, eventually resulting in a stand-off. More than 1,000 casualties resulted in six days of heavy fighting.Following a ceasefire negotiated in Iran on 31 March, Muqtada al-Sadr withdrew his fighters from the streets, but had gained a major political victory. However, the Iraqi Army, reinforced with brigades from other parts of Iraq, including the 1st Division from al-Anbar, continued to carry out slower, more deliberate clearing operations in militia strongholds. The Hillah Special Weapons and Tactics Unit, as well as Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF), carried out a number of targeted raids on militia leaders. By 20 April, the Iraqi Army had taken control of the last major district controlled by the Mahdi Army, and by 24 April, Iraqi forces claimed to be in full control of the city centre.

Hasan al-Basri

Abū Saʿīd b. Abi ’l-Ḥasan Yasār al-Baṣrī, often referred to as Ḥasan of Basra (Arabic: حسن البصري, Ḥasan al-Baṣrī; 642 - 15 October 728) for short, or reverentially as Imam Ḥasan al-Baṣrī in Sunni Islam, was an early Muslim preacher, ascetic, theologian, exegete, scholar, judge, and mystic. Born in Medina in 642, Hasan belonged to the third generation of Muslims, all of whom would subsequently be referred to as the tābiʿūn in Sunni Islamic piety. In fact, Hasan rose to become one of "the most celebrated" of the tābiʿūn, enjoying an "acclaimed scholarly career and an even more remarkable posthumous legacy in Islamic scholarship."Hasan, revered for his austerity and support for "renunciation" (zuhd), preached against worldliness and materialism during the early days of the Umayyad Caliphate, with his passionate sermons casting a "deep impression on his contemporaries." His close relationships with several of the most prominent companions of the prophet Muhammad only strengthened his standing as a teacher and scholar of the Islamic sciences. The particular disciplines in which he is said to have excelled included exegesis (tafsīr) of the Quran, whence his "name is invariably encountered in" classical and medieval commentaries on the scripture, as well as theology and mysticism. Regarding the last of these, it is important to note that Hasan became a tremendously important figure in the development of , with his name occurring "in many mystical silsilas (chains of teachers and their disciples) going back to Muḥammad" in the writings of Sunni mystics from the ninth-century onwards. In the words of one scholar, Hasan stands as the "great patriarch" of early Sufism.As scholars have noted, very few of Hasan's original writings survive, with his proverbs and maxims on various subjects having been transmitted primarily through oral tradition by his numerous disciples. While fragments of his famed sermons do survive in the works of later authors, the only complete manuscripts we have bearing his name are apocryphal works such as the Risālat al-qadar ilā ʿAbd al-Malik (Epistle to ʿAbd al-Malik against the Predestinarians), a pseudopigraphical text from the ninth or early-tenth century, and another letter "of an ascetic and hortatory character" addressed to Umar II (d. 720), which is likewise deemed spurious.Traditionally, Hasan has been commemorated as an outstanding figure by all the Sunni schools of thought, and was frequently designated as one the well respected of the early Islamic community in later writings by such important Sunni thinkers as Abu Talib al-Makki (d. 996), Abu Nu`aym (d. 1038), Ali Hujwiri (d. 1077), Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 1201), and Attar of Nishapur (d. 1221). In his famed Ḳūt al-ḳulūb, the most important work of Basran Sunni, Abu Talib al-Makki says of Hasan: "Ḥasan is our Imām in this doctrine which we represent. We walk in his footsteps and we follow his ways and from his lamp we have our light" (wa ’l-Ḥasanu raḥimahu ’llāhu imāmunā fī hād̲h̲a ’l-ʿilmi ’llad̲h̲ī natakallamu bih , at̲h̲arahu naḳfū wa sabīlahū natbaʿu wa min mis̲h̲kātihi nastaḍīʾ).

Naft Al-Junoob SC

Naft Al-Junoob (Arabic: نادي نفط الجنوب الرياضي‎, lit. 'South Oil Company Sport Club'), is an Iraqi football club based in Al-Tamimia District, Basra, that plays in Iraqi Premier League.

Ottoman Iraq

Ottoman Iraq refers to the period of the history of Iraq when the region was ruled by the Ottoman Empire (1534–1704 and 1831–1920).

Before reforms (1534–1704), Iraq was divided into four eyalets (provinces):

Baghdad Eyalet

Shahrizor Eyalet

Basra Eyalet

Mosul EyaletOttoman Iraq was later (1831–1920) divided into the three vilayets (provinces):

Mosul Vilayet

Baghdad Vilayet

Basra VilayetDuring World War I, an invasion of the region was undertaken by British Empire forces and was known as the Mesopotamian campaign. Fighting commenced with the Battle of Basra in 1914 and continued for the duration of the war. The most notable action was the Siege of Kut, which resulted in the surrender of the British and British Indian Army garrison of the town in April 1916, after a siege of 147 days. Of the 11,800 Allied soldiers who survived to be made prisoners, 4,250 died of disease or at the hands of their Ottoman guards during captivity.

Persian Gulf

The Persian Gulf (Persian: خلیج فارس‎, translit. Xalij-e Fârs, lit. 'Gulf of Fars'), is a mediterranean sea in Western Asia. The body of water is an extension of the Indian Ocean (Gulf of Oman) through the Strait of Hormuz and lies between Iran to the northeast and the Arabian Peninsula to the southwest. The Shatt al-Arab river delta forms the northwest shoreline.

The body of water is historically and internationally known as the "Persian Gulf". Some Arab governments refer to it as the "Arabian Gulf" (Arabic: الخليج العربي‎, translit. Al-Khalīj al-ˁArabī) or "The Gulf", but neither term is recognized internationally. The name "Gulf of Iran (Persian Gulf)" is used by the International Hydrographic Organization.The Persian Gulf was a battlefield of the 1980–1988 Iran–Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers. It is the namesake of the 1991 Gulf War, the largely air- and land-based conflict that followed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

The gulf has many fishing grounds, extensive reefs (mostly rocky, but also coral), and abundant pearl oysters, but its ecology has been damaged by industrialization and oil spills.

The Persian Gulf resides in the Persian Gulf Basin, which is of Cenozoic origin and related to the subduction of the Arabian Plate under the Zagros Mountains. The current flooding of the basin started 15,000 years ago due to rising sea levels of the Holocene glacial retreat.

Rabia of Basra

Rābiʿa al-ʿAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya (Arabic: رابعة العدوية القيسية‎) (714/717/718 — 801 CE) was a Muslim saint and Sufi mystic. She is known in some parts of the world as, Hazrat Bibi Rabia Basri, Rabia Al Basri or simply Rabia Basri.

Siege of UK bases in Basra

The Siege of UK bases in Basra was conducted and maintained by the Mahdi Army in Basra for most of 2007. Following the reported success of the coalition Operation Sinbad, whose purpose was to stabilise Basra and prepare it for the turning over of security to Iraqi government forces, the city was overrun by insurgent forces from three different militia forces, including the Mahdi Army, and the British found themselves under siege in their bases and capable of conducting only limited raids in armoured convoys into the city.

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