ancient city at risk: urban planning for prophet ezekiel’s home town

An ancient hilltop fortress, Amadiya, near Dohuk, which may have been home to the Bible’s three wise men, is overcrowded. The city’s youth are being re-settled but locals fear the changes will see Amadiya lose its unique sense of community and history. by Abdul-Khaleq Dosky in Dohuk more

no labour laws in iraq: employers pick workers’ representatives

A fight between the major trade unions in Basra and that state’s authorities highlights the lack of real labour laws in Iraq. Saddam Hussein-era laws mean that here, the employer gets to elect the union representatives and ignore workers’ wishes. by Waheed Ghanim in Baghdad more

big business, black markets, bribery: a tale of oil smugglers in kirkuk

Oil smuggling is virtually a tradition in the oil-producing areas of Iraq. Local authorities are trying to prevent it. But, as this tale of oil smuggling in Kirkuk shows, policing the smuggling gangs remains extremely difficult – not to mention confusing. by Shalaw Mohammed in Kirkuk more

iraqi kurdish state budget passes – eight months late, against strong opposition

Despite protests and questions posed by opposition politicians, the leadership in Iraqi Kurdistan passed the 2012 budget anyway. Critics say the budget is ridiculously late, in the red and does not show where millions are bound. by Sangar Jamal in Sulaymaniyah more

pipe dreams or reality? the real deal behind turkish-kurdish oil plans

In May, Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan announced they would build pipelines taking oil and gas from Iraq into Turkey, then possibly Europe. But behind the energy dream, lurks a nightmare of militant Kurdish independence fighters and the spectres of energy giants, Iran and Russia. by Shwan Zulal in Erbil more

iranian cars with a rotten rep: bad drivers, accidents and sexual harassment

Due to price and fuel efficiency, Iran’s Saipa cars have become some of the most popular on Baghdad’s crowded streets. But “Saipa” has also become Baghdadi slang for reckless teenage drivers, overcrowded cars, accidents and even sexual harassment. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

business in karbala vs najaf: why nobody wants to invest in iraq

International business investors hoping to cash in on Iraq’s slow blooming economy, and in particular, in popular tourist towns like Najaf and Karbala, are in for a hard ride. Corruption and bureaucracy are causing investors to leave one town for the other. by Mohammed Hamid al-Sawaf in Karbala more

sweet nothings: site of british military history converted to candy store

The house occupied by General Charles Townshend in Kut, in 1915, witnessed a dreadful defeat for the British military. Recently the building became a sweet shop. Local historians and preservationists are protesting – but not necessarily for the Britons’ sake. by Mohammed al-Zaidi in Wasit more

dinar woes: iraqi currency traders break syria, iran sanctions

In Iraq, where barely anyone has a bank account, the trade in foreign currencies is largely unlicensed. Now money traders are smuggling US dollars to sanctioned Syria and Iran. And the Iraqi govt may well be using the situation for its own political ends too. by Mustafa Habib in Baghdad more

regional repercussions: syrian conflict causes economic issues in iraq

As violence in Syria worsens, the economic repercussions are felt in places like Iraqi Kurdistan – Syria is usually a conduit for goods coming into the semi-autonomous region. And Sulaymaniyah’s car dealers are the latest to feel the effects. by Hana Raouf in Sulaymaniyah more
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