Iraq’s excessive reliance on oil revenues is ‘dangerous,’ warns minister

By Shaymaa Adel Azzaman, February 26, 2013 The Planning Ministry says Iraq’s budget is too reliant on oil revenues and any drop in prices will cause “dangers and problems” for the country. The Iraqi parliament is debating 2013 budget, which according to Planning Minister Ali al-Shukri is 93% reliant on revenues from oil sales. But(…)

Iraq diversifying its oil export outlets

By Shaymaa Adel Azzaman, February 25, 2013 The Iraqi parliament has authorized the Ministry of Oil to seriously consider diversifying access to oil export outlets in neighboring states. Suzan Aklawi of the parliamentary Oil and Energy Commission said Jordan is emerging as the most suitable outlet. Jordan’s only maritime outlet to the outside world is(…)

Baghdad and Kurdish region solve issue of payment for oil firms

  By Ali al-Mawsawi Azzaman, February 23, 2013 The long-standing conflict over payments to oil firms operating in Iraqi Kurdistan has been solved, according to a senior Iraqi official. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who heads the pro-government national alliance, announced that the sides “have reached a legal framework to cover the payments due to foreign firms with(…)

Ministry offers 10,000 scholarships to upgrade tertiary level teaching and research

By Adel Kadhem Azzaman, February 22, 2013 The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has announced 10,000 scholarships for students and university teachers to proceed ahead with studies abroad. The announcement was made by Higher Education Minister Ali al-Adeeb as he bid farewell to the first batch of students on their way to universities(…)

Cheap imports may ‘destroy’ Iraq’s cement industry

By Khayoun Saleh Azzaman, February 21, 2013 The State Company for Cement Industries says cheap and low-quality imports of cement are making it hard for it to sell its products. The company’s director-general, Nasser Idris, warned that the industry might collapse without immediate state support. Idris did not say where the cement was imported from,(…)

Police seize more ancient relics in southern province

By Khayoun Saleh Azzaman, February 20, 2013 Iraqi police have seized 13 archaeological pieces in the southern Province of Dhiqar, an Antiquities Department official said. The official, Hakem al-Shammari, said the relics were passed to the Iraq Museum and Iraqi scientists were examining their antiquity and value. “The pieces were stolen from ancient mounds in(…)

Iraqi Christians urge authorities to safeguard relics

By Wail Matti Azzaman, February 18, 2013 Iraqi Christians have asked the authorities to preserve their churches and other monuments as excavations reveal that Christianity was the dominant religion in many parts of the country until the Arab Muslim invasion of the seventh century. Latest digs and earth moving activities to prepare the ground for(…)

Politicizing the fate of minorities in Iraq, Syria and Egypt

By Fatih Abdulsalam U.S.’s media and diplomacy machine are stirring the issue of minorities in the Arab world in an intensive and extensive manner. But there is little sincerity in raising the issue. The fate of minorities in the Arab world is being politicized. For the U.S. the target is not preserving and safeguarding these(…)

Iraq’s wheat harvest exceeded 3 million tons in 2012

By Adel Kadhem Azzaman, February 15, 2013 There has been a substantial surge in Iraq’s wheat produce in the years since 2003, when a U.S.-led coalition invaded the country. Wheat harvest had dwindled to an average 1.5 million tons in the years since the invasion, turning the country into a net importer of wheat and(…)

Iraqi forces storm Qaeda camp in Mosul

By Samer Saaid Azzaman, February 14, 2013 A police force has stormed a camp in northern Iraq, where al-Qaeda members had piled weapons, explosives, car bombs and fuel trucks. The camp is located in Jazira, a plateau to the north west of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. “The camp was administered by al-Qaeda. It(…)

French firm wins $1.5 billion for a railway suspension system in Baghdad

By Ali Shattab Azzaman, February 12, 2013 Iraq has signed a deal with the French firm Alstom for the construction of a suspension trains system in Baghdad. The deal was signed by Baghdad Governor Salah Abdulrazzaq and Alstom representatives in the Iraqi capital. Alstom, a global leader in railways systems, will design the project and(…)

Oil tension mounts between Kurds and Baghdad

By Fareed Hassan Azzaman, February 11, 2013 Tension over oil development and exports are mounting between Kurds in the north and the central government in Baghdad. The tension is no longer economic, according to Arshad al-Salihi of the parliamentary oil and energy commission. “The crisis and the rhetoric accompanying the exploration of oil, work of(…)

Major Iraqi Shiite group rejects pro-Iran accusations

By Adel Kadhem Azzaman, February 10, 2013 A senior leader of one of Iraq’s largest Shiite political parties has denied accusations that the government has placed the country under Iran’s domination. Human Hamoudi said Iraq was not governed by a single group and it was beyond the power of pro-Iran factions in the government to(…)

U.N. has no right to meddle in anti-government protests in Iraq

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, February 8, 2013 When did the U.N. interfere in the protests and uprisings of Arab countries as part of the events known as ‘Arab Spring’ with international authorization? When did the U.N. assume the role of a mediator to settle issues dividing Arab nations and their governments? But it seems Iraq,(…)

30,000 Iraqis languish in prison, more than half of them without trial

By Samer Saaeed Azzaman, February 7, 2013 Iraqi jails hold 30,000 inmates, 17,000 of them languish there without trial,’ according to Deputy Prime Minster Husain Shahristani. Shahristani added that the government set 3,000 prisoners free in the past two weeks and that thousands more un-convicted persons should be released “very soon.” “There are 13,000 detainees(…)

Army and police should avoid recruiting on ethnic and sectarian grounds

Azzaman, February 6, 2013 The Iraqi army and security forces should belong to the nation at large and not a specific sect or ethnic group. National identity that transcends sectarian divisions is vital for Iraq’s prosperity and future as a unified country. Therefore, it is shocking and mind-boggling to see the government, through the Defense(…)

Iraq repairs old power plant, adding 600 megawatts to national grid

By Khayoun Saleh Azzaman, January 5, 2013 Iraq has rehabilitated an old power plant in the southern Province of Nasiriya as part of efforts to revive its national grid. Built in the 1970s, the Nasiriya plant is one of the largest in Iraq but needed modernization to bring it on stream. Part of Iraq’s power(…)

Heavy downpours a blessing to Iraqi marshlands

By Husain al-Yaaqoubi Azzaman, February 4, 2013 Iraq has recently seen heavy rains in quantities unprecedented and in areas previously thought to have turned into desert. The downpours have inundated streets in major towns, turned roundabouts and parks into lakes and have caused wide destruction particularly in low-income neighborhoods. But they have been a blessing(…)

Are Arab Gulf states immune from the so-called ‘Arab Spring’

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, February 1, 2013 The Arab world has witnessed massive transformations in the past two years with uprisings and rebellions leading to the emergences of new leaders and governments. Some Arab states, particularly Syria, are passing through increasingly difficult times with no sight so far for the turn of events. But it(…)

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(…)