Economy

Iraq’s people yet to feel benefit of oil boom

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraq’s economy is expanding and government coffers are swelling, but Sabah Nuri, like many Iraqis who still struggle with poverty and poor services, has yet to see the benefits of rising oil exports. Nuri is lucky: he has a job, albeit a relatively menial one, and a roof over his head. But […]


Decade on, Iraq far cry from pre-war vision

BAGHDAD (AFP) – The US-led invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein aimed to enshrine a liberal democracy in the heart of the Middle East but instead unleashed sectarian violence and endless political disputes. Launched a decade ago with the stated goal of wiping out Saddam’s stores of weapons of mass destruction, which were never […]


Syria — a rebel victory, a school and a devastated city

Syria -- a rebel victory, a school and a devastated city

Earlier in December, I spent some time covering the conflict in Syria for AFP — much of it was spent in Turkey, but here are a collection of photographs I took and stories I wrote from my assignment. Hunger sharpens misery in Syria’s Aleppo ALEPPO, Syria (AFP) — Residents of Aleppo have suffered through months of brutal […]


Iraq investment concerns remain as trade fair ends

BAGHDAD (AFP) — Nuri al-Maliki may have trumpeted Iraq last week as the top destination for investment in the region, but experts warn that myriad problems keep it from being a good choice for all but the most adventurous. Excessive red tape, rampant corruption, an unreliable judicial system and still-inadequate security, as well as a […]


Iraq needs $1 trillion to rebuild: investment chief

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraq needs up to $1 trillion over the next 10 years to rebuild its crumbling infrastructure and battered economy, its investment chief said in an interview on Thursday. Sami al-Araji‘s remarks come during the Baghdad International Fair, Iraq’s biggest trade showcase in more than 20 years, as the government looks to court […]


Iraq PM in power grab by ousting bank chief: experts

by Prashant Rao Note: This article was published by AFP on October 22, 2012. It can be found in full here. BAGHDAD (AFP) – The targeting of Iraq’s well-respected central bank chief appears to be a move by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to consolidate power and sends a bad message to international investors, experts and […]


Iraq looks to raise profile with OPEC candidate

by Prashant Rao Note: This article was originally published by AFP on June 12, 2012. It can be found in full here. BAGHDAD (AFP) – As Iraq increases oil output and emerges as a key supplier, it is now pushing a candidate for OPEC secretary general, part of efforts to boost its profile and retake […]


Tough contracts hurt Iraq energy auction: analysts

by Prashant Rao Note: This article was originally published by AFP on June 1, 2012. It can be found in full here. BAGHDAD (AFP) – A landmark Iraqi auction for oil and gas exploration blocks was a disappointment because of poor contract terms on offer and a lack of requisite energy infrastructure, analysts say. The […]


AFP’s coverage of the US withdrawal from Iraq

Agence France-Presse has put out several stories in recent days about the US withdrawal from Iraq, and now that it is complete, I wanted to put together a one-stop-shop of all the articles AFP has published. Without further ado, a summary of AFP‘s coverage of the US withdrawal from Iraq: December 18, 2011 US forces […]


Iraq struggles a decade after 9/11

Note: This article was originally published by AFP on August 30, 2011. You can find it in full here. by Prashant Rao A decade after 9/11 attacks that set the stage for the 2003 invasion, Iraq is struggling to rebuild as dysfunctional politics, a persistent insurgency and rampant graft blunt the promise of its oil […]


Where Iraq stood in August 2010

Where Iraq Stood in August 2010 – RTE World Report August 2010 was a busy month in Iraq. Along with US forces gearing up to declare an official end to combat operations, and get troop numbers below 50,000 (from a peak of around 170,000 during “the surge”), a suicide bomber blew himself up amid a […]


Disappearing Tradition: Najaf abaya makers in decline

Disappearing Tradition: Najaf abaya makers in decline

by Prashant Rao Note: This article was originally published by AFP on March 9, 2011. It can be found here. NAJAF, Iraq (AFP) – Known across the region for its fine texture, the Najafi abaya is worn by all manner of VIPs from officials to oil-rich sheikhs. But the men who produce the hand-made cloth, […]


Life on the margin: Iraqis grapple with poverty

Life on the margin: Iraqis grapple with poverty

by Prashant Rao Note: This article was originally published by AFP on February 22, 2011. It can be found here. BAGHDAD (AFP) — Faleha Hassan lives in a tiny house in central Baghdad with 11 other family members and, like thousands of protesters across Iraq, does not believe her leaders have done anything to make her […]


Iraqi city sees hotel boom as pilgrims proliferate

Iraqi city sees hotel boom as pilgrims proliferate

by Prashant Rao Note: This article was originally published by AFP on March 13, 2011. It can be found here. NAJAF, Iraq (AFP) – The holy Shiite city of Najaf in central Iraq, home to the shrine of a revered cleric, is in the midst of a hotel building boom in a bid to dramatically […]