Some sources in Basra believe that the Shiite Muslim religious authorities may also interfere if the province gets any closer to becoming a region; they would postpone the decision to regionalise Basra for a year, arguing that the move endangers Iraqi unity.
There are other reasons why it might not be a good idea to try and turn Basra into a region right now, says local economist Adnan Farhan. "The creation of a region will require a lot of money - to do things like build government structures as well as ministries and a local parliament,” he notes. Additionally Farhan says he doubts that the province's share of the federal budget – which has already been decided for 2015 – would change in the short term.
It's an extravagance that is coming at the wrong time, he says, pointing to lower global oil prices and the cost of the fight against the extremists.
“Anyway this is really all about a lack of enthusiasm and integrity on the part of past provincial governments,” Farhan points out. “Why should we assume that just because a government is regional it would have any more integrity?”