Umm Qasr

Umm Qasr

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Umm Qasr
other_name = "Um-qasir", "Um-qasser"
( _en. Mother of Castles)

native_name = _ar. أم قصر
nickname =
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imagesize = 200px
image_caption = Cranes at Umm Qasr await cargo.

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subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = Iraq
subdivision_type1 = Governorate "muhafazah" ( _ar. محافظة)
subdivision_name1 = Al-Basrah ( _ar. البصرة)
subdivision_type2 = District ( _ar. قضاء "qaḍāʾ", Qadaa)
subdivision_name2 = Shatt Al-Arab District
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established_title =Extant as village
established_date =1903
established_title2 = Port constructed
established_date2 = 1958
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population_as_of = 2003
population_footnotes = [Dilip Hiro. The Essential Middle East: A Comprehensive Guide. Carroll & Graf (2003), pp.166. ISBN 0786712694 and [ Action Dominic Nutt, Churches Together International (ACT). Lack of security hampers aid efforts] . April 16, 2003.]
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population_total = 45,000 - 47,000
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timezone = GMT +3
utc_offset = +3
timezone_DST =
utc_offset_DST = +4
coordinates_type = region:IQ_type:city_source:GNS-enwiki
coordinates_display = inline,title
latd=30 |latm=02 |lats=03 |latNS=N
longd=47 |longm=55 |longs=46 |longEW=E
elevation_footnotes = [ [|] ]
elevation_m =9
elevation_ft =32
postal_code_type =
postal_code = 61011
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Umm Qasr ( _ar. أم قصر, also transliterated as : "Um-qasir", "Um-qasser"), is a port city in southern Iraq. It stands on the canalised Khawr az-Zubayr, part of the Khawr Abd Allah estuary which leads to the Persian Gulf. It is separated from the border of Kuwait by a small inlet. A bridge across the waterway linked the port with Kuwait prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War.


Village to Port

Umm Qasr was originally a small fishing town but was used as a military port on a few occasions. It was said to have been the site of Alexander the Great's landing in Mesopotamia in 325 BC. During the Second World War a temporary port was established there by the Allies to unload supplies to dispatch to the Soviet Union. It fell back into obscurity after the war, but the government of King Faisal II sought to establish a permanent port there in the 1950s. ["Iraq Hopes For Revival As An International Highway", "The Times", 15 May 1961]

After the Iraqi Revolution of 1958, a naval base was established at Umm Qasr. The port was subsequently founded in 1961 by the Iraqi ruler General Abdul-Karim Qassem. It was intended to serve as Iraq's only "deep water" port, reducing the country's dependence on the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway that marks the border with Iran. The port facilities were built by a consortium of companies from West Germany, Sweden and Lebanon, with a railway line connecting it to Basra and Baghdad. ["General Kassim Founds £15M. Port", "The Times", 27 March 1961] The port opened for business in July 1967. ["Ports of the World 1969", p. 697. Shipping World Ltd]

Iran - Iraq War

During the Iran–Iraq War (1980-1988) its importance increased as fighting restricted access to other ports further east. Umm Qasr was threatened after the successful Iranian invasion and occupation of the al-Faw peninsula in 1986. However, the port never fell during the Iran–Iraq War.

First Gulf War

Access to the port was a significant issue in the territorial dispute with Kuwait which led to the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Both countries contested ownership of the inlet leading to Umm Qasr as well as control of the nearby Kuwaiti islands of Bubiyan and Warbah. ["Iraq - First Persian Gulf War - Causes", Encyclopædia Britannica (2006)] After the war, during which the port was bombed, control of the inlet was transferred to Kuwait, and a large trench and sand berm was constructed along the border of the two nations. The Iraqi government rejected the border changes and continued to claim Kuwaiti territory near the port. ["Kuwait - The First Persian Gulf War and its aftermath", Encyclopædia Britannica (2006)] Meanwhile the Iraqi government shifted much commerce to Umm Qasr away from Basra in order to punish the Basrans economically for their support of the post-war rebellions against the rule of Saddam Hussein.

econd Gulf War

*"See: Battle of Umm Qasr"Umm Qasr was the target of one of the first major military operations in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, on March 29, 2003. The assault on the port was spearheaded by British Royal Marines and Polish GROM troops, but Iraqi forces put up unexpectedly strong resistance, requiring several days' fighting before the area was cleared of defenders. [" [,,920580,00.html Fierce battle around port] ," "The Guardian", 24 March 2003] After the waterway was de-mined by Australian Clearance Diving Team Three, Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron FOURTEEN Detachment ONE and Naval Special Clearance Team ONE of the U.S. Navy and a Royal Navy Clearance Diving Detachment and reopened, Umm Qasr played an important role in the shipment of humanitarian supplies to Iraqi civilians. ["Iraq aid confined to south", "The Guardian", 2 April 2003]

In January 2006, the 100th British soldier to die in Iraq, Corporal Gordon Pritchard, was killed in a bomb explosion in the town. ["Latest victim was one of the first liberators of Iraq", "The Times", 1 February 2006]



Population estimates are around 46,000 people living in Umm Qasr town at the outbreak of the 2003 war. Having grown from a tiny fishing village in 1958, the town is laid out in planned housing tracts, with workers living near the previously state-owned industries which employed them. Almost the entire population were relocated from other parts of Iraq to work in state run industries. The port (and its workforce) were dramatically expanded following the first Gulf War, in part to remove vital functions from Basra, scene of a major anti-government uprising. A mapping project shortly thereafter stated "In total, the town is composed of 82 streets; each street has 72 houses. Up to three to four families live in each house." It then described three main neighborhoods: [ [ USAID: DART Assessment of Umm Qasr and Relief Efforts, April 7, 2003] .]
*"North Indian Camp" ("Hindi Court") in the north, with 6,600 people and 37 streets
*"South Indian Camp" to the west of town, mostly to house port workers.
* "Port/Customs Office" with housing and offices for the Iraqi Ministry of Industry; housing for workers in the pipe, steel, and cement factories.

Public services

Prior to the 2003 war, Umm Qasr had 13 primary schools (four for boys, four for girls, and five coeducational), two intermediate schools for boys, and five secondary schools (two for boys, one night school for boys, and two for girls). There was a single hospital for the town. [ [ USAID. DART Assessment of Umm Qasr and Relief Efforts. April 4, 2003] .]


A branch of the main Iraqi Republic Railways line connects Umm Qasr to Basra from Shouaiba Junction (near Basra) via the port of Khawr az-Zubayr.


Umm Qasr has a Civil aviation airport, with the of ORUQ.


Militants launch rockets into nearby (1.5 miles) Camp Bucca, the US military's largest detainee prison camp. The rockets are widely believed to be often provided and set up by Iranians who teach the militants to launch them hours after they've returned to their nearby country (45 miles)Fact|date=July 2008. The lethal explosions average around 5 per month in a period from September 2007 to late April 2008, with the most intense barage coming during The Ra'madan period (October) when 12 aerial bombs (Believed to be stolen from a British camp in nearby [50 miles] el Basrah)Fact|date=July 2008 landed in a span of 8 days.

ee also

* List of places in Iraq
* Camp Bucca


* [ The Sunday Times April 6, 2003 Colonel Cox has a whole town to build. The commando ‘mayor of Umm Qasr’ is starting from scratch, he tells Christina Lamb] .
* [ United States trade group report on re-opening of Umm Qasr Port] .
* [ United States Military. Road trip: SDDC Southwest Asia works up front at Iraqi port of Umm Qasr] . in Translog: Journal of Military Transportation Management, Fall, 2004 by Randall Ramian
* [ 2003 UNJLC Reports on Umm Qasr Port] .
* [ Images of Umm Qasr Port] .
* [ of Texas: Area Map] .

External links

* [ Umm Qasr, Iraq]

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