Why an Iraqi Town, in Middle of the Desert, has no Cafes

“People here are united and they have not been affected by sectarian clashes elsewhere,” says Ahmad Hamdan Jabr, the head of the municipal council. “They have their sheep and their camels; some are farmers, others are government employees.”

There is a military headquarters in the middle of Busaya, established here in the 1920s by a British soldier, John Bagot Glubb, when he was posted to Iraq. The headquarters was established to protect local tribes from marauding Saudi ones. Most of the historic station is crumbling away now but locals still acknowledge its historic significance.

“Whenever I pass near the station I remember the heroic acts of my grandfathers and I am even more committed to my duties,” Abu Karim, a local officer told NIQASH; many of the current police force are relatives of the former officers, who used to be known as “the camel police”.

“In many cases where there are problems, these are resolved by mutual agreement,” Karim adds.

Recently exploratory teams found crude oil in the area too, so things may change soon in this peaceful enclave. The Dhi Qar province is already claiming Busaya as its own, saying the district belongs to Dhi Qar rather than the province of Muthana. Unsurprisingly Muthana officials say that Busaya belongs to them.

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