the great goat flood: refugee livestock causing crisis in dohuk

Drought in Iraq and violence in Syria is driving a new group of refugees into Iraq: goats and sheep. And they’re bringing problems: competition for food, disease and various economic impacts. by Abdul-Khaleq Dosky in Dohuk more

new ‘locals only’ political group in karbala not racist, founders say

Karbala has drawn many migrants to its safe and prosperous streets in the recent past. But now locals, who say newcomers are ruining their way of life, are forming a political party to look after their own interests. by Mohammed Hamid al-Sawaf in Amman more

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
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