legal loopholes in oil industry threaten iraqi kurdistan’s environment

The region of Iraqi Kurdistan is brimming with untapped oil resources. And multi-national oil companies know it. But because of the grey legal area in which oil contracts are being signed, none of the oil companies seem to be under any real obligation to abide by environmental regulations. And some of them are exploiting this loophole. by Hiwa Barznjy in Erbil more

high price of sadness: in karbala, religious grief translates to big business

It is traditional for Shiite Muslims to wear mourning black around Ashura, a memorial day commemorating the death of one of their sect’s most important icons. But while some grieve and work on their piety, others in Karbala are doing big business trading in black clothing and black fabrics. And interestingly enough, so are Chinese manufacturers. by Abbas Sarhan in Karbala more

holy rollers: karbala’s faith-funded businesses threaten smaller firms

In Karbala religion is big business. But for some time now, the religious authorities there have been moving into businesses other than faith - such as farming and transportation. Now smaller businesses say that the big religious projects are driving them out. by Abbas Sarhan in Karbala more

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
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