karbala real estate boom: sacred city boasts most expensive property in all iraq

The prosperous southern city of Karbala has not only got some of Shiite Muslims’ most important holy sites, now it also has Iraq’s highest property prices. And much of the inflation in real estate prices is apparently due to religious buyers. by Ibrahim al-Jibouri in Karbala more

iraqi investors escape violence, red tape and head for former soviet union

The Iraqi government is trying to encourage investment inside the country. However, Iraqi businesspeople are seeking a safe haven - away from violence, heavy taxation and too much red tape – and they are increasingly seeing the eastern European country of Georgia as a good investment. by Ahmad al-Rubaie in Baghdad more

political dreams shattered: kurdish election losers in financial mess over campaign costs

In the last parliamentary elections held in the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, over a thousand candidates stood for just 111 seats. Which means that after the votes were counted, after the Sept.21 polling day, there had to be a lot of losers. And now that the losers have doubtless vented their emotions, their finances are in the spotlight. by Hiwa Barznjy in Erbil more

fighting for clean air: locals living near basra oil wells move because of pollution

The oil wells in southern Iraq have made the areas relatively prosperous. But they also seem to be making the locals sick. Many say they’re moving out because they don’t want to breathe the poisoned air here anymore. by Saleem al-Wazzan in Basra more

islamic militias control home-made oil refineries on iraq-syria border

Refining crude oil at home is a major business in eastern Syria, near the Iraqi border. And Islamic militias in charge here are selling the crude oil and regulating the refinery work done by locals. by Ahmad al-Sayegh in Mosul more

the one percent in iraq: surveys show gap between rich and poor widening

As one global consultancy was busy ranking Iraq the sixth wealthiest country in the Middle East, another local survey indicated that over six million Iraqis live below the poverty line. by Ahmad al-Rubaie in Baghdad more

under threat: baghdad’s historic ‘one thousand and one nights’ houses

Central Baghdad is famous as the setting for many of the ancient tales in One Thousand And One nights. However many of the houses, located on prime commercial real estate, are under threat from owners’ greed, developers and lack of a preservation budget. by Ahmad al-Rubaie in Baghdad more

entering karbala’s holy city: ‘getting a visa to us would be easier’

Karbala’s famous old city is home to two of Islam’s most important shrines and attracts millions of tourists. It is also surrounded by high walls and under tight security. But that security is now driving local businesses out and causing residents to leave. by Ibrahim al-Jibouri in Karbala more

back on the street in basra: oil workers demonstrate again

Earlier this year oil sector workers in Basra began demonstrating for better conditions and the oil dividends they were promised. Their employer, South Oil, which produces most of Iraq\'s oil, said they would accede to the demands. However nothing has changed and now the workers are back on the street. by Waheed Ghanim in Basra more

polite soldiers and lebanese investment: erbil is middle east capital of tourism

In May, the northern city of Erbil was declared Tourism Capital for the Middle East region for 2014. As Lebanese and Turkish investors compete to spend money there, various obstacles include too-high prices, non-Arabic-speaking border guards, uneven urban development and potential human rights abuses. by Haider Najm in Erbil more
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