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

mosul's property racket: courts sell houses out from under overseas owners

Lack of a working property registration office in Mosul means fraudsters are taking advantage of legal loopholes to sell buildings and land out from under unwitting, overseas owners. While many owners fear retribution if they fight back in court, one US-based Iraqi woman is going to court. by Abdullah Salem in Mosul more

no taxes, no duty – but basra’s free zone still tricky for foreign investors

It was designed to attract investors to Iraq and although things are getting better in Basra’s duty-free zone, there are still many obstacles for foreign investors there – some of which come straight from the Prime Minister’s office. by Murtada Taleb in Basra more

currency class war: damaged dinar notes result in bribery, injustice

Exchange shops, bank cashiers and savvy housewives are doing big business as they deal with Iraq’s dodgy, damaged, low-denomination notes - for a price. The losers? Pensioners and low-income earners who end up with cash they can barely use. by Waheed Ghanim in Basra more

khanaqin’s flaming mystery: who is torching local orchards?

There have been about 140 fires in Khanaqin’s famous orchards recently. Environmental activists say the city is at fault. The city blames the orchard owners, greedy for land sales. And the orchard owners don’t seem to have a clue. by Kawa Sheikh Abdullah in Sulaymaniyah more
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