More insurgent groups opt for national reconciliation

By Ali Shattab Azzaman, December 21, 2012 Several Iraqi rebel groups who fought U.S. occupation have expressed their willingness to lay down their arms and join government ranks, according to a senior Iraqi deputy. The deputy, Hussein Kadhem, who heads the transparency and integrity commission at the Iraqi parliament, said the government will soon announce(…)

Government says it will solve issue of former army officers

By Ali Jassem Azzaman, December 19, 2012 The government says it is determined to solve the issue of all the officers of the former army, which was disbanded shortly after the 2003-U.S. invasion. It has set the end of 2013 to get the tens of thousands of officers either back to serve in the current(…)

Kurds agree to withdraw their militias from oil-rich Kirkuk

By Laith Jawad Kurdish leaders have agreed to withdraw their militias, known locally as peshemerga, from the oil-rich Province of Kirkuk, paving the way for a rapprochement with the central government in Baghdad. Iraqi national army had deployed troops in the province prompting the Kurds to send in their militias. Now Iraqi legislators say both(…)

Ministry receives 21 artifacts stolen from Iraq Museum in 2003

By Adel Kadhem Azzaman, December 17, 2012 The Spanish ambassador to Iraq has handed over 21 archaeological pieces to the Ministry of culture and Antiquities. The artifacts were among the thousands of items that were looted from the Iraq Museum shortly after the 2003-U.S. invasion. The ambassador,  Jose Turpin, presented the artifacts to the Iraqi(…)

More than 5 million Iraqi children lack basic rights

By Laith Jawad Azzaman, December 15, 2012 At least 32 per cent of children in Iraq live in conditions which lack basic rights and services, a new survey has revealed. The survey, conducted by U.N.’s children organization (UNICEF) and the Iraqi Ministry of Planning, is the first detailed study of the conditions of Iraqi children(…)

Syria and its surprises

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, December 13, 2012 The whole of Syria is now in a state of faint. There is great risk that this state of affairs will continue and aggravate. For Syria to awake and pursue normal life is hard to see. So, wait for more surprises as the fighting approaches the capital Damascus(…)

Government threatens to slash Kurds’ quota of oil royalties

By Zeena Sami Azzaman, December 12, 2012 The feud between the central government and its regional counterpart in the Kurdish north is spilling over to finances. As tensions between the sides are mounting and fears of a military confrontation rising, the government in Baghdad has said it intends to slash Kurdish share of Iraqi oil(…)

Basra’s governor to visit U.S.

By Basem al-Rikabi The governor of the southern Province of Basra Khalaf Abdulsamad is visiting the U.S. this week for talks with American firms willing to invest in Iraq. Basra is currently Iraq’s most promising province for foreign entrepreneurs. In addition to federal government allocations, the province has its own budget which it draws from(…)

Ancient language makes comeback in Iraq

By Adel Kadhem Azzaman, December 9, 2012 At least one of the Middle East’s ancient languages may not be doomed to extinction, thanks to the liberal tendencies that have been a characteristic of Iraq’s educational system in the past few years. Since the downfall of the regime of Saddam Hussein, the government has removed restrictions(…)

Iraqis cheer Merril Lynch’s economic growth estimates for their country

By Shaymaa Adel Azzaman, December 8, 2012 Iraqis of different walks of life have welcomed a report by an American bank that their country will see the fastest growth in the world this year and in 2013. The bank, Merrill Lynch, one of the world’s leading financial management and advisory companies, has said in a(…)

Ancient language on verge of extinction in Iraq

By Khaula al-Ukaili Azzaman, December 6, 2012 A secretive Iraqi community and its distinct language are both feared to disappear, specialists say. The group, known as the Mandeans, have Aramaic as their mother tongue and have been pursuing their own religion, which historians trace to John the Baptist. But only a few thousand Mandeans have(…)

Iraq’s refining capacity to reach 750,000 barrels a day in 2013

By Shaymaa Adel Azzaman, December 5, 2012 Iraq’s refining capacity will surge to 750,000 barrels a day from the current 600,000, said Oil Ministry Undersecretary Ahmad al-Shamaa. But the surge in refining output will still fall short of meeting the country’s domestic needs. Iraq currently spends hundreds of millions of dollars on fuel imports from(…)

Who is not corrupt in Iraq?

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, December 4, 2012 There are many news stories about corruption in Iraq these days. The strange thing is that these stories do not emanate from the media. It is the government and its bodies who are the most vociferous about them. Iraq has its own integrity commission, an anti-corruption watchdog. The(…)

Kurdish leader lashes out at Iraqi premier, says he will not ‘surrender’

Azzaman, December 2, 2012 The Kurds will not give in to demands by the central government to spread its authority over disputed areas, said Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani in an interview with the newspaper. Barzani said Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki was wrong to think that the Kurds would allow government troops in areas currently under(…)

Pope to visit Ur, says senior provincial official

By Basem al-Rikabi Azzaman, November 30, 2012 The southern Province of Dhiqar, where the Biblical city of Ur lies, says it has received “assurances” that Pope Benedict XVI will pay homage to the ancient city. “The Province has received assurances that Pope Benedict XVI will visit Ur and the house of the Prophet of God(…)

War over oil and wealth in Iraq

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, November 29, 2012 U.S. occupation troops have left the country more than a year ago and the Iraqis thought their departure should improve conditions. In fact that is what almost everybody had expected. But the country is still mired in a deep political crisis that hinges over authority and wealth. It(…)

Italian scientists uncover new graves in Ur

By Khayoun Saleh Azzaman, November 26, 2012 A team of Italian archaeologists have found seven new graves in the ancient city of Ur, which according to the Bible was the birth place of Abraham. “The graves belong to the Akkadian period and date to 2200 B.C.,” according to the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Liwa(…)

Iraq adds 250 megawatts to national grid

By Khayoun Saleh Azzaman, November 25, 2012 Iraq says a newly constructed power plant in the southern Province of Babel is now fully operations, adding 250 megawatts to the national grid. Electricity Ministry spokesperson Musaib al-Mudarisi said the plant includes two generating units each with 125 megawatts and has already been linked to the national(…)

Sweden harassing Iraqi refugees, rights group say

By Khayoun Saleh Azzaman, November 23, 2012 The Swedish authorities are using coercive and inhumane measures to force Iraqi refugees to leave, an Iraqi human rights group said. “Swedish behavior towards Iraqi refugees is tough and the (Swedish) authorities are using coercive and inhumane methods to compel them to leave the country,” the Iraqi Human(…)

Iraq imports 70% of its consumer needs

By Ali Shattab Azzaman, November 22, 2012 Iraq imports 70% of its needs from foreign countries, especially neighboring states, said the head of the Iraqi Chamber of Commerce Jaafar al-Hamadani. Hamdani did not say how much the imports cost the treasury but they are estimated to devour more than half the country’s oil revenues. Hamadani(…)