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Dubai — Iraqi forces are increasing security around southern oil fields and facilities in Basra province as OPEC's second-largest oil producer continues to grapple with protests demanding political and economic change.

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Iraqi forces in Basra will work with security personnel at oil companies in Basra to enforce security measures, Lieutenant General Qassem Nizal, the head of Basra operations told state-run Iraqi News Agency on Tuesday.

The country's biggest oil fields are in Basra, including Rumaila, Majnoon, West Qurna 1, West Qurna 2 and Zubair and are operated mostly by international oil companies.

Iraqi protestors have often blocked roads to oil fields and facilities in Iraq since October last year when demonstrations broke out demanding political change. Iraq's oil ministry has said the events in the country have yet to disrupt exports.

The protests prompted the government of Prime Minister Adel abdul Madhi to resign in November. Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Allawi plans to name members of his Cabinet this week pending Parliament approval of his choices of ministers, he said in a twitter message on Saturday.