The World Just Recognized the Potential of Iraq’s Marshes. Can Iraq Do the Same?

Iraq possesses distinct characteristics that separates it from the rest of the world. A blend of old heritage that traces back to ancient Mesopotamia and numerous cultural and economic resources. The Mesopotamian Marshes or Iraqi Marshes that were once drained by Saddam Hussein’s regime were finally recognized by the UNESCO as a world heritage site. Historically called the Garden of Eden, al-Ahwar Marshes are wetlands located in Iraq’s southern region that have long been underrated and undervalued. UNESCO’s decision to enlist the marshes on the World Heritage list gives Iraqis something to celebrate after a dreadful month that witnessed...

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The Flames That Consumed Hope

I’m frequently asked to write security assessments of Baghdad, to gauge what the risks are and what the associated political fallout could be. Only 10 days ago I was asked for my thoughts on Baghdad security: would a Daesh bombing campaign continue after Fallujah was liberated (yes because Daesh has always used them to project strength), how likely would an attack occur around Eid (very likely as Daesh targets crowded areas and especially increases attacks in Ramadhan), can they penetrate inner Baghdad areas such as Karrada (yes because these bombings are planned and have assistance to get them through...

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Ayatollah Sistani’s Code of Conduct to Iraqi Fighters

The fight against ISIL continues and Iraq’s brave are on the offensive against the world’s most brutal terrorist organization. The Iraqi Army and Popular Mobilization Units are reclaiming land taken by the terrorists two years ago. To ensure human rights abuses are minimized and to renew the focus on the humanitarian aid role the anti-ISIL fighters hold, Grand Ayatollah Sayyid ‘Ali al-Sistani has issued a twenty-point code of conduct last year. As Iraqi forces prepare to retake the city of Fallujah, Ayatollah Sistani reiterated his call for humane treatment of civilians and even captured enemy fighters. [Translated by Dr....

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Ayoub al-Jabouri: The Story of an Iraqi Martyr

What you’re about to read is not fiction, although I wish it was. It’s also not propaganda, although some Iraq observers will have you believe so. It’s the story of a humble boy from a simple town with extraordinary bravery during trying times. This is my attempt to honour the life and sacrifice of my cousins’ cousin, Ayoub Mohammed Hassan al-Jabouri. Our story begins in early 1991 during Iraq’s historic uprising against the repressive regime of Saddam Hussein. The southern town of Rumaitha in Al-Muthana province is in the hands of anti-government rebels. Ayoub’s family members participated in the...

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Why Reconciliation in Iraq is the Only Way Forward

Since 2003 Iraq has seen significant growth in its economy and steady progress with the development of democracy. However recent events have shown that these gains are reversible and that the underlying foundations are not yet strong enough. The fall of Mosul in June 2014 was a watershed moment and Iraq’s politicians must now make the decisions that will either build Iraq or break it up. Views differ on whether the Islamic State terrorist group has united the citizens of Iraq beyond the physical confrontation or not. The way to go forward is to conduct a nationwide survey of...

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Baghdad’s First Woman Mayor

Baghdad, the second largest capital in the Arab world, has appointed the first female mayor in its illustrious history, Dr. Thikra Muhammad Alwash. Not only is Dr. Alwash the first female mayor of Baghdad but when she assumes office on Friday (20th February 2015), she will be the only female mayor of a capital city out of the 22 Arab League nations. The appointment of a female mayor comes as a positive step in breaking the barrier of a male-dominated political scene in Iraq. Women were given a quota in parliament through the Iraqi constitution to hold at least...

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Where Politics Fail, Football Triumphs

On 22 January, the Iraqi national football team beat its archrival, Iran, in a thrilling game worthy of being called the mother of all matches. The Iraqi team beat its Iranian counterpart after a dramatic 120 minutes of play, and a nerve-wrecking penalty shootout to clinch a spot in the Asian Cup semi-final in Sydney. The result unleashed spontaneous celebrations in all parts of the country. The win was reminiscent of the Iraq’s 2007 victory against Saudi Arabia in the Asian cup final because of the magnitude of emotions it engendered. When Iraq won the Asian title seven years...

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