$50 million for Iraqi refugees fleeing Syria

By Zeena Sami Azzaman, September 3, 2012 Iraq has earmarked $50 million to Iraqi refugees who have fled the violence in Syria and returned home, the Ministry of Migration and Displacement said. The ministry’s undersecretary, Salam al-Khafaji, said the sum was to help the returning families settle down. He said initially each Iraqi family would(…)

No fighters from Mahdi Army in Syria, says Iraqi official

By Laith Jawad Azzaman, September 1, 2012 The Mahdi Army, an Iraqi militia group, has sent none of its members to take part in the fighting in Syria, a senior member of Iraqi parliament said. Dhiyaa al-Assdi, who heads a major parliamentary block, described reports on the presence of Mahdi Army fighters in Syria as(…)

Iraq’s National Youth Orchestra performs in London

By Siba Aldabbagh Azzaman, August 31, 2012 Already hailed as ‘the world’s bravest orchestra’ by Sky News Scotland’s correspondent Jane Chilton, a  group of young Iraqi musicians from across Iraq’s religious and ethnic spectrum joined hands on Tuesday night to perform the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq’s (NYOI) London debut at the South Bank Centre(…)

Rising purchasing power fuels boom in mall construction in Baghdad

By Ali Shattab Azzaman, August 31, 2012 Iraqis have a lot of money and they need more shopping malls to spend it, according to the head of Investment Commission in Baghdad, Shakir al-Zameli. Zameli said his commission has granted licenses for the construction of 46 new shopping malls in Baghdad by foreign firms and that(…)

Scores executed and hundreds await their turn to the gallows

By Laith Jawad Azzaman, August 30, 2012 Scores of prisoners have been hanged in Iraq among them two Arab nationals, one from Syria and the other from Saudi Arabia, the Justice Ministry said. In a statement, the ministry said those executed were convicted of “terrorist issues.” Two batches of convicted prisoners have been sent to(…)

Iraq only producing one third of its electricity needs

By Nashoor Ali Azzaman, August 28, 2012 Iraq’s national grid churns about one third the country’s needs for electricity estimated at nearly 15000 megawatts, the Ministry of Electricity said in a statement. The ministry said Iraq’s current power output was estimated at 5852 megawatts but output was not steady due to unexpected interruptions. The current(…)

Conference to discuss challenges facing Iraq’s oil industry

By Nashoor Ali Azzaman, August 27, 2012 Oil is Iraq’s sole hard cash earner and at the same time a bone of contention as the country’s disparate ethnic groups are vying for its control. The clash over oil was about to result in military confrontation last month between Kurdish militias known as peshmerga and government(…)

Thousands of Iraqi exiles and Syrian refugees flock to Iraq

Thousands of Iraqi exiles and Syrian refugees flock to Iraq By Shaymaa Adel Azzaman, August 26, 2012 Syria is no longer a haven for Iraqis fleeing violence in their own country. At least 24000 Iraqi exiles have returned home and many more are expected to come. But it is not only the Iraqi exiles who(…)

The Syrian crisis has become unsolvable

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, August 26, 2012 The Syrian crisis has two decisive ways to solve and both of them are not possible. A political solution is much overdue as the parties have already missed its deadlines so many times,  despite dim hopes of reviving the process following the appointment of a new U.N. envoy(…)

Iraqi refugees in Syria urge U.N. to help with their plight

By Mundher al-Shawfi Azzaman, August 21, 2012 More than 2000 Iraqi refugee families have fled their villages and towns in the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus and they are now asking the U.N. refugee agency for help. Most of them have flocked to the township of Jarmana, a low-income area of the Syrian capital,(…)

Kurds accused of desecrating Yazidi minority’s shrine and graves

By Ali Shattab Azzaman, August 18, 2012 A small and secretive Iraqi community in Iraq says Kurds have desecrated one of their cemeteries as well as a shrine in the northern Kurdish Province of Dahouk. The community known as Yazidis have their habitat in Kurdish rugged mountains where they have been practicing their religion and(…)

All know Syria’s regime end is in sight but some find maneuvering an advantage

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, August 16, 2012 The countries involved in the crisis in Syria and those keeping a close eye on the situation there are all planning for the post-President Bashar al-Assad era. However there are some regional states with special calculations. These countries think that Assad’s government might stay in power for at(…)

Iraq sends big delegation to Tehran to boost economic ties

By Nashor Ali Azzaman, August 15, 2012 Deputy-Prime Minister Roz Shawees has taken a big delegation with him on a visit to Tehran for talks with Iranian officials to boost relations between the countries. The delegation includes Iraqi ministers of finance, trade and industry as well as the governor of the Central Bank. The  talks(…)

Iraqi wheat produce largest in 30 years

By Ali Shattab Azzaman, August 14, 2012 Government silos are brimming with wheat as this year’s harvest has surpassed expectations, The Director General of Iraq Grain Board Amer Abdulaziz said. Abdulaziz said despite discouraging weather conditions Iraqi farmers have shipped 1.9 million tons of wheat to government silos. “The yields are the largest in 30(…)

feed shortage slashes poultry farm output in Iraq by more than half

By Ali Shattab Azzaman, August 13, 2012 Feed shortages have reduced Iraq’s poultry output and may threaten the industry with collapse, said state-run Company for Animal Wealth Services. The company’s Director General Musdiq Dalphi attributed the crisis to the disturbances in Syria, which are preventing the flow of feeds to the country. Dalphi said Iraq(…)

Arms smuggling to Syria turns into big business in Iraq

By Zeena Sami Azzaman, August 11, 2012 Prices of automatic rifles and pistols are soaring in Iraq as illegal traders try to smuggle them across the border for sale in strife-torn Syria. Most of the roaring business is taking place in low-income neighborhoods in major Iraqi cities where the poor are selling their personal arms(…)

Antiquities Department resumes digs in three Iraqi provinces

By Khayoon Saleh Azzaman, August 10, 2012 Four archeological teams have begun excavations in the provinces of Basra, Dhiqar and Missan, according to the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Liwa Sumaism. “The teams are led by highly qualified Iraqi experts and they have been provided with all the requirements to do a good job,” the(…)

Iraqi foreign exchange offices implicated in money laundering and smuggling

By Khayoun Saleh Azzaman, August 8, 2012 Foreign exchange offices have become conduits for the smuggling and laundering of hard cash in the country, said Central Bank Governor Mudher Saleh. Saleh said high-level government and party officials were involved in illegal money exchange operations primarily aimed at smuggling dollars abroad. “Most of these offices are(…)

Defection of Syrian prime minister will not shake regime in Damascus

By Fatih Abdulsalam Azzaman, August 7, 2012 Will the regime of President Bashar al-Assad collapse following the defection of Syrian Prime Minister Riad Hijab to the opposition? The answer is easy for observers with knowledge about regimes which evolve around one person or a family circle as is the situation in Syria. A regime like(…)

Central bank to vet Iraqi purchases in dollars to stem hard cash smuggling

By Khayoun Saleh Azzaman, August 6, 2012 Iraq has placed new restrictions on purchases by Iraqi traders of foreign goods in latest bid to bring the flow of billions of dollars abroad every month under control, Central Bank Governor Mudher Saleh said. Saleh said the bank no longer favors cash payments or direct transfers of(…)