sister wives of kirkuk: iraqi kurdish men circumvent law to marry twice

Iraqi Kurdish legislation forbids a man having more than one wife outside of very specific circumstances. So those husbands who want two brides simply travel into Iraq, where the law still says they can marry more than once. by Shalaw Mohammed in Kirkuk more

changing sea lanes: basra wrecks pose ecological and political risks

One of Iraq’s most important waterways is littered with sunken wrecks and the debris of past conflicts. Some, like wrecked oil tankers, threaten serious environmental damage. Others are a political danger as they’re slowly changing the sensitive marine border between Iraq and Iran, causing shoreline erosion and forming new islands. by Murtada Taleb in Basra more

iraqi kurdistan vs baghdad: oil crisis not about money, its about independence

The announcement by Iraqi Kurdistan that they had started exporting oil to Turkey, despite numerous warnings from Baghdad, has sparked yet another crisis. But as various experts suggest, the crisis is not about business, it’s all about politics and Iraqi Kurdistan’s increasing financial independence. by Ahmad al-Rubaie in Baghdad more

mister, can you spare a dinar? life with the beggar mafia of basra

Some estimates suggest that almost a third of the residents in one of Iraq’s oil-richest cities live in poverty. And now begging has gone beyond poverty, human rights groups say, it’s become a business here and one of the most popular \'jobs\' around. by Saleem al-Wazzan in Basra more

govt attempts to solve iraqi kurdistan’s housing crisis causes even bigger problems

Authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan are trying to solve the housing crisis in the area by handing out home loans to those wanting to build their own place and by providing low-income families with state housing. However, despite thousands of locals applying for one or the other, both processes appear to have come to a halt. Rather than doing any good, they are causing anger and anxiety. by Sangar Jamal in Sulaymaniyah more

six years to build a short road: corruption and construction in karbala

Despite the city’s tourism wealth, Karbala city officials say they don’t have enough money to complete important infrastructure projects, like roads and sewage systems. But critics say there are other reasons: such as corruption, the contracting of non-existent companies to do the jobs and lax contracting procedures. by Abbas Sarhan in Karbala more

erbil’s big challenge: tourists vs. locals in fight for facilities

This year the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil must live up to its hard won title, Capital of Arab Tourism 2014. But power cuts, an ailing sewage system and a lack of public restrooms has locals complaining that before authorities look after the visitors they hope to attract, they should take care of local business. by Hiwa Barznjy in Erbil more

‘sorry, we’re out of money’: banks in iraqi kurdistan out of cash

Locals in Iraqi Kurdistan have found themselves unable to withdraw cash from their banks, despite the fact that they have enough in their accounts. It’s a liquidity problem that recurs every year around this time. Some financial analysts suspect a plot and locals have started keeping their cash under the bed. by Sangar Jamal in Sulaymaniyah more

clash in the desert: karbala’s tomato farmers versus iraq’s biggest airport.

The authorities in the religious boom town of Karbala plan to build the country’s biggest airport on the city’s outskirts. But to do so, they will have to confiscate land from hundreds of farmers, who live a basic lifestyle but provide the city with its food. After protests and threats of eviction, the question remains: which is more important - vegetables or planes? by Abbas Sarhan in more

one man’s rubbish: basra’s poor fight for wealthy neighbours’ garbage

Gangs of poor people in Basra are making a living sifting through rubbish in the oil boomtown’s affluent neighbourhoods. Often they’ll make more in a day than social welfare pays them in a month. Which is why the rubbish business is rife with different gangs claiming turf and competing with official garbage trucks. by Saleem al-Wazzan in Basra more
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