DEBKA-Net-Weekly presents hereunder key clauses (in paraphrase where the text is abstruse) of southern Iraq’s proclamation of autonomous government.
The text names Abdulmohsin Shalh as ruler for five years.
The region covered has a population of between 4 and 4.5 million of mostly Shiite Muslim inhabitants. The autonomy appears to be run on theocratic lines.
While the Shiite holy cities of Najef and Karbala are excluded, Basra, Iraq’s second largest city is, together with its oil resources, international airport and location as Iraq’s only sea outlet and oil port.
Today (Monday 30.7.07), the document says, 45 clan elders in the southern governates of Iraq, which include Basra, Amarah, Nasiriyah, Diwaniyah, Samawah, signed the founding document of the autonomous government in southern Iraq and chose Abdulmohsin Shalh as chairman for five years.
This statement announces the formation of an administrative body, the Shura Council, consisting of 100 “Grand,” (senior councilors) an engineer and consultant and 30 members of the intelligentsia and intellectuals, to draft laws and legislation for the five governates.
A Board of Directors of working members and operational staff, including 10 specialists, will manage the reconstruction of the South. The Supreme Council for Agriculture will regulate water resources, natural resources and mineral wealth. The various bodies and councils will be announced in a timely manner in accordance with the needs of our people in the South. Each of these bodies will be attached to the autonomous administration which will be the highest authority for the southern autonomy.
This administration has nothing to do with the fight against Iraq’s occupation but is a peaceful Iraqi national supervisory authority.
The autonomous government in southern Iraq respects all neighboring countries adjacent to the South and seeks not to be drawn into settling accounts in foreign relations among states. “We will not allow the precious South to be a springboard for aggression against any neighbor.”
Regarding the relationship with the central government, the statement says that the autonomous government of southern Iraqi “respects the current Iraqi constitution and will participate in its amendment,” pointing out that there were “lots of different viewpoints, which would clarify the authority of central Baghdad,”
The autonomy’s administration will succeed where the national government failed, to open the door to the sons of tribes to volunteer for the establishment of a local police force and the nucleus of an Iraqi army and its southern arm.
“All military establishments in the south are subject to the southern autonomy which is linked to the prime minister.”
The statement stressed that the decision to establish an autonomous government in southern Iraq is not a statement of federal recognition. “We are part of Iraq and we have no intentions or goals, now or in the future, to secede from Iraq.”
There has been no reaction from the Iraqi government. The list of signatories for the foundation of the autonomy does not include any deputies representing the southern Iraqi cities mentioned in the statement.