Projects worth $24 billion licensed in Iraq’s Kurdish north

By Fareed Hussein Azzaman, January 31, 2013 The Investment Commission in the Kurdish region has licensed 517 project worth $24.3 billion, new statistics by the commission reveal. The statistics issued show a surge in private applications to start new projects in the autonomous region comprising the provinces of Dahouk, Arbil and Sulaimaniya. The commission said(…)

Syrian plane lands in Baghdad following three-month suspension

By Khayoun Saleh Azzaman, January 29, 2013 A Syrian passenger plane landed in Baghdad for the first time in three months. The plane was carrying 50 Iraqi passengers who flew from Damascus International Airport. Scheduled flights between Baghdad and Damascus came to a halt when Syrian rebels mounted attacks in the airport’s vicinity. Iraqi Airways(…)

Iraq warns Kurds over oil exports to Turkey

By Shaymaa Adel Azzaman, January 28, 2013 Iraq has issued a stern warning to Kurds over their attempts to export large quantities of crude oil to Turkey. “This is a red line,” warned Iraqi Oil Minister Abdulkareem al-Aibi. The warning came as the minister was briefing the local press on the surge in the country’s(…)

Iraq’s Missan Province emerges as major oil producer

By Shaymaa Adel Azzaman, January 26, 2013 The southern Province of Missan has emerged as a major oil producer in Iraq as more of its giant oil fields come on stream. Foreign firms are developing Missan fields and currently the province produces 230,000 barrels of oil a day, according to Ali Muaarij the head of(…)

‘How many times did you blow yourself up?’

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, January 25, 2013 The question “How many times did you blow yourself up?” is part of a joke doing rounds in Iraq. It refers to a prisoner who under duress and in order to prevent his interrogators from torturing him any further had to admit that he had blown himself up(…)

Indian firm to start $450 million pipe construction project in Basra

By Zeena Sami Azzaman, January 24, 2013 The government has approved a license allowing an Indian firm to start a pipe construction project in the southern city of Basra, the cabinet said in a statement. The statement said the government’s National Commission for Investment has agreed for the Indian firm to build the plant, estimated(…)

Jobless rate in Iraq reduced to 20% from 38%, says ministry

By Shaymaa Adel Azzaman, January 23, 2013 There has been a slash in unemployment rates in Iraq but little change in poverty levels, the Ministry of Planning says. “Unemployment rate fell to 20% in 2012 from 38% in 2004,” said Abdulzahra al-Hindawi, the ministry’s spokesperson. However, he added, the country still faced high poverty levels(…)

Turkish Kurdish delegations visit northern Iraq

By Fareed Hussein Azzaman, January 21, 2013 Groups representing major Kurdish cities are visiting the semi-independent Kurdish region in northern Iraq, to voice their support of its local government, Turkish Kurdish delegates said. Delegations from six municipalities of major Kurdish cities in Turkey are  holding talks with Iraqi Kurdish authorities mainly to boost economic ties.(…)

Southern Iraqi provinces spar over gigantic oil field

By Shaymaa Adel Azzaman, January 20, 2013 Iraq’s oil riches are a blessing for a country that has seen ruinous wars and devastating civil strife. But they can also be a bone of contention. The sparring is pitting two of Iraq’s richest oil provinces against each other. The provinces of Missan and Basra both lay(…)

Iraq’s Diyala province asks for 33,000 new houses to replace slums

By Laith Jawad Azzaman, January 19, 2013 The once violent Province of Diyala has urged the government to allocate resources for the construction of 33,000 new homes to replace its slums. Diyala of which the city Baqouba is the provincial capital was one of the most violent provinces in the country during the turmoil that(…)

Iraq’s health per capita expenditure lowest among neighboring states

By Zeena Sami Azzaman, January 15, 2013 Iraq’s expenditures on health are the lowest in the region, the parliamentary commission on health and environment has revealed. The commission’s head Jawad al-Bazoni said Iraqi health allocations were still far below those in neighboring states and the country suffered from a drastic shortage of medical consultants. “Iraq’s(…)

Iraq rice yields far below domestic needs

By Adel Kadhem Azzaman, January 14, 2013 Iraq’s 2012 rice harvest hardly meets a fraction of domestic needs, figures by Trade Ministry reveal. In a statement, the ministry said Iraq’s local rice produce totaled 149,000 tons in 2012 while domestic consumption  was estimated at more than two million tons a year. Rice yields in 2012(…)

Wealthy Arabs have failed Syrian refugees

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, January 13, 2013 There are hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled violence in Syria seeking refuge in neighboring states. The refugees are vulnerable not only to bad weather conditions but almost all of them cannot make ends meet as the majority of them are women and children. Some Arab states(…)

More than 2.5 million tourists visited Iraq in 2012

By Khayoun Saleh Azzaman, January 12, 2013 More than 2.5 million tourists visited Iraq in 2012 most of them on pilgrimage to the country’s holy shrines, new figures have revealed. The figures were issued by the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism and show that Iraq has become a mecca for Muslim tourists, mainly Shiites from(…)

U.S. holds 80,000 Iraqi antiquities

By Khayoun Saleh Azzaman, January 11, 2012 The U.S. still keeps 80,000 Iraqi artifacts and refuses to turn them back to the Iraq Museum, a senior Antiquities Department official has said. The official, Hazem al-Shammari, said Iraqi authorities were in touch with their U.S. counterparts but the discussion have so far led to nothing. Shammari(…)

Heavy rain reveals gold coins of great antiquity

By Khayoun Saleh Heavy downpours have removed earth from an ancient mound in southern Iraq, bringing to surface 62 gold coins some of which date to the Babylonian period, the Antiquities Department said in a statement. The statement, faxed to the newspaper, said the coins were picked up by the inhabitants of a village close(…)

Exile Iraqi pilots join the newly formed Iraqi Airways

By Shaymaa Adel Azzaman, January 8, 2012 Iraq’s national carrier was one of the world’s safest and most efficient when U.N. trade sanctions prevented it from flying. Its nearly two dozen planes that were flown to safety to neighboring Iran and Jordan as well as Tunisia were grounded without maintenance or repairs. When the sanctions,(…)

Why do Arab leaders abhor the idea of resignation?

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, January 7, 2012 Celebrities and stars whether in sports or arts resign while they are at the peak of their success. They, their fans and other people celebrate their resignation. The occasion is seen as a torch that lights up for posterity the peaks they have reached. Resigning while one basks(…)

Kurdish deputies to sue finance minister for lack of transparency

By Fareed Hassan Azzaman, January 4, 2013 Opposition deputies in the Kurdish regional parliament say they want to sue the region’s finance minister for lack of transparency regarding oil sales in 2011. Kardo Mohammed, who heads the opposition parliamentary block, said the ministry has failed to convince parliament that its figures on 2011 oil sales(…)

Turkish warplanes damage drinking water project in northern Iraq

By Fareed Hassan Azzaman, January 3, 2013 Bombing by Turkish warplanes of northern Iraq has interrupted water supplies to more than 200 Kurdish families, a Kurdish official said. The official,  Ismael Mohammed, said the planes hit a water project and destroyed water pipelines in villages in the Province of Arbil. “Turkish warplanes have mounted attacks(…)