Fact check: Abbas Kadhim's claims regarding #Basra protests

On September 8, a prominent scholar on Iraqi politics tweeted about poverty and oil wealth in the city of Basra, which is experiencing massive anti-corruption protests. Dr Abbas Kadhim, author of the book, Reclaiming Iraq: 1920 Revolution & the Founding of the Modern State, made the following claims:


Claim 1: There are 300K citizens under poverty line in Basra

Fact Check:

Professor Kadhim told WikiTribune in an email that he got this number from a speech made by  Iraqi member of parliament Falih al-Khaz’ali (1:08:00)

الجلسة الاستثنائية – حول احداث محافظة البصرة – السبت 8 ايلول 2018

Uploaded by مجلس النواب العراقي on 2018-09-08.

The MP did not cite where he got this statistic, though it is likely a conservative estimate. Major new outlets, including Vox, have reported that 50 percent of Basra Governorate lives in poverty, a figure that can be traced back to an article Alamaalomah, an Arabic media outlet, published in April 2018.

The article quoted Basra city council member Ahmed Abdul Hussein, who said “the rate of poverty in the province of Basra reached nearly 50 percent… about 1.5 million people are below the poverty line.”

Considering the city of Basra, the capital of the province, is roughly 2.5 million… 300,000 is a modest estimate of those under the poverty line.

This statement has been rated Mostly True.

Claim 2: 100K citizens live in random housing w/out basic services.

This claim also came from a speech made by Iraqi member of parliament Falih al-Khaz’ali (1:08:00). Though this figure is currently unverifiable as no data is available.

Claim 3: Basra produces 2.5 mbd (million barrels a day) of oil at $60 per barrel, which is equal to $150million/day, and $55billion/year.

Fact check:

2.5 million barrels a day is a conservative estimate according to Alessandro Bacci, a oil consultant in Iraq, who offered a presentation on the energy industry in Basra Governorate. Bacci said that Basra Governorate exported roughly 3 million mbd in 2017, almost all of which came from five oil fields. Bacci cited studies from Wood Mackenzie, an analyst firm, which cost over $1000 a report. Mostly True.


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