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(…)

Iran to boost Iraq investments to $25 billion

By Ali Shattab Azzaman, November 20, 2012 Iran, facing stringent western sanctions, is expanding its trade ties with neighboring states with Iraq emerging as a top trade partner. Iranian trade delegations are have been touring neighboring states such as Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Arab Gulf states. Iranian trade delegations have been touring Iraq,(…)

Is a war between Iraqi government troops and Kurdish militias imminent?

By Akab al-Taher Azzaman, November 19, 2012 The row between the regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan and the central government in Baghdad is worsening. Its solution is in need of courageous and wise steps if a sustainable settlement for the divisive issues is sought. Relations between the two sides must be re-organized and revised. However,(…)

Wars have disabled six million Iraqis

By Saadoun al-Jaberi Azzaman, November 17, 2012 The wars Iraq has gone through in the last three decades have produced a nation of disabled people – six million out of a population of 30 million. “People with disabilities caused by the three wars Iraq has suffered are estimated at more than 6 million,” according to(…)

Gas flaring costs Iraq $5 million a day

By Khayoun Saleh Azzaman, November 16, 2012 The flaring of associated gas from the country’s producing oil fields, particularly in the southern Province of Basra, costs $5 million a day, according to Dhia al-Mawsawi, the Director-General of Southern Oil Company. Iraq’s three largest producing-fields lie in Basra, where most of the country’s oil output and(…)

Foreign firms win $290 million for two 400-bed hospitals in Iraq

By Adel Kadhem Azzaman, November 15, 2012 Iraq is building two hospitals, 400-beds each, and at a cost of  $290, a statement by the Ministry of Health said. The statement said the ministry has already signed two contracts for the construction of both hospitals, one in the Province of Kirkuk and the other in the(…)

Southern and central provinces to set up their own free-trade zones

By Dalya Ahmad Azzaman, November 13, 2012 The return of normalcy after years of violence to Iraq is luring investors to the region, a senior Finance Ministry official has said. Sabah al-Qaisi, the head of Free-Trade Zones Commission in the country, said there was a surge in requests by foreign companies and entrepreneurs to invest(…)

Iraq to produce 5 million cubic meters of natural gas in five years

By Husain al-Yaaqoubi Azzaman, November 12, 2012 The Oil Ministry has unveiled its 5-year plan for the development of the country’s natural gas riches. The plan calls for the production of five million cubic meters of gas to meet increasing needs for the fuel particularly by power stations and petrochemical industries, said the ministry’s deputy(…)

U.K. to expedite visa processing for Iraqis

By Bassem Hassan The United Kingdom is to open a special visa section in Baghdad to make it easier for Iraqis to get visas, British ambassador in Baghdad Simon Collis was reported as saying. The ambassador made the remarks on a visit to the southern Iraqi Province of Basra, where provincial authorities have expressed their(…)

Who’s playing the Jihadists’ card in Syria?

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, November 9, 2012 It has become clear by now that the Jihadists in Syria have become cards in a game that is being played by international actors. The Jihadists in Syria were propelled to limelight as the armed opposition strived to spread its control over villages and districts amid large-scale killings(…)

Iraq urges Iran to invest in both private and public industries

By Khaula al-Ukaili Azzaman, November 8, 2012 Iraq has urged on Iran to increase its investment and participation in the country’s industries, whether private or state owned. The call was made during a meeting at the Ministry of Industry and Minerals in which senior officials and experts from Iran’s Defense Ministry were present. There are(…)