Search Results | 'basra'

Iraq Targets 3x Rise in Tourism

Iraq Targets 3x Rise in Tourism

By John Lee.

Iraq sees an average of about two million tourists a year, but a senior adviser to the Iraqi tourism ministry has told AFP that that number could be tripled to six million.

The country hosts millions of Shiite Muslims on pilgrimages to its various holy sites, from Samarra in the north, about 125 kilometres north of Baghdad, to Basra in the south, the country’s second largest city.

But the Telegraph reports that tourists have been deterred from visiting the country following continued violence, including Iraq’s most sustained wave of bloodshed in half a decade this year, resulting in the deaths of more than 2,600 people since the beginning of April.

Yet despite the problems, tour operators like UK-based Hinterland Travel have been arranging trips to Iraq, with prices from around £2,000 for a nine-day tour, not including the cost of flights and visas.

The operator is one of the few that has official approval from the Iraqi government to organise visits to the country, with tour groups being driven around in an unmarked van accompanied by an Iraqi policeman for security purposes.

Earlier this year, Iraqi authorities announced plans to restore the Arch of Ctesiphon (pictured), south of Baghdad, in an attempt to increase the country’s appeal to tourists; it is the world’s largest brick-built arch, and the last structure still standing from the ancient Persian imperial capital of the same name.

Iraq’s southern marshes are also set to become a centre of eco-tourism based around floating hotels and guided wildlife tours, according to the vision of Azzam Alwash, a former occupant of the marshes and trained engineer who won the Goldman Prize earlier this year, an award widely regarded as the environmental equivalent of the Oscars.

(Source: The Telegraph)

(Picture: UNESCO)

Posted in Leisure and Tourism3 Comments

More than 1,000 Killed in July – UNAMI

More than 1,000 Killed in July – UNAMI

According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of 1,057 Iraqis were killed and another 2,326 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in July.

The number of civilians killed was 928 (including 204 civilian police), while the number of civilians injured was 2,109 (including 338 civilian police). A further 129 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed and 217 were injured.

“The impact of violence on civilians remains disturbingly high, with at least 4,137 civilians killed and 9,865 injured since the beginning of 2013,” the Acting Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Mr. Gyorgy Busztin, warned.

We haven’t seen such numbers in more than five years, when the blind rage of sectarian strife that inflicted such deep wounds upon this country was finally abating. I reiterate my urgent call on Iraq’s political leaders to take immediate and decisive action to stop the senseless bloodshed, and to prevent these dark days from returning.

Baghdad was the worst-affected governorate in July with 957 civilian casualties (238 killed and 719 injured), followed by Salahuddin, Ninewa, Diyala, Kirkuk and Anbar (triple-digit figures).

Babil, Wasit and Basra also reported casualties (double-digit figures).

(Source: UNAMI)


Posted in SecurityComments Off

Sony has Big Plans for Iraq

Sony has Big Plans for Iraq

By John Lee.

Sony has recently unveiled its extensive plan for expansion in Iraq.

Along with its official business partner, Modern Electronics Iraq (MEI) Sony will look to transform the Iraqi consumers’ experience through launching its entire line-up of latest technology products, introducing experiential Sony-branded stores and setting up authorised service centres in Iraq.

The announcements, which came at an exclusive dealers’ conference in Erbil, highlight the significance Sony places on Iraq as an emerging market in the Middle East with a huge potential for growth.

Iraq is undoubtedly one of the most important markets for Sony. By 2015, we hope to achieve a $350 million share in the consumer electronics space, including the fast-growing mobile phone business,” Sony Middle East and Africa managing director Hiroyasu Sugiyama said at the event.

The numbers certainly look exciting, but our immediate focus is to identify tactics that help us move towards our target. The Sony roadmap for Iraq constitutes a three-pillared strategy based on product, customer and operation.

Recognising the demand for its entire line-up of products in Iraq, Sony aims to synchronise its international launches to include Iraq. From the award-winning Sony Xperia Z smartphone, the Xperia tablet, Vaio notebooks and Bravia 4K TVs to the PlayStation 3 game console and the world’s most powerful audio system, the Shake 7 stereo, Sony will look to reduce wait-time and increase the availability of its products for Iraqi consumers.

Looking to transform the experiential prospects for Iraqi customers, Sony is also set to roll-out its unique world-class branded stores, where all products are displayed in an open and easy-to-touch-and-try layout, with Sony-trained salespersons ready to explain and demonstrate these products.

Posted in Industry & TradeComments Off

Eversheds Advises Citi on Iraq Venture

Eversheds Advises Citi on Iraq Venture

Global law firm Eversheds has advised Citibank [Citigroup] on the registration of its representative office in Baghdad, Iraq, making it the first US bank to establish a presence in the country.

According to Citi’s press release, the representative office in the Iraqi capital will support Citi’s clients in the country, and the New York-based bank will also seek to open two more offices, in Erbil and Basra, in the future.

The Eversheds team, led by Partner Tawfiq Tabbaa (pictured), advised Citibank on all aspects of project.

Tawfiq said:

Iraq is a hub of opportunities for global businesses and is fast becoming an important market in the Middle East.

(Source: Eversheds)

Posted in Industry & Trade1 Comment

Video: Wave of Car Bombs Strikes Iraq

Video: Wave of Car Bombs Strikes Iraq

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

A wave of 13 car bombs has struck mainly Shia areas in and around the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing at least 33 people and injuring more than 150, security and medical officials have said.

A car bomb also targeted a market in the centre of southern city of Basra killing at least three people on Monday, security sources told Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf reports from Baghdad:

(Source: Al Jazeera)

Posted in SecurityComments Off

Greek Company wins $26.8m Hospital Deal

Greek Company wins $26.8m Hospital Deal

By John Lee.

Greek company TERNA has reportedly been awarded a $26.8m turnkey contract to construct a 100-bed hospital in Basra.

According to Construction Weekly, the design and build project consists of a general hospital covering a built area of 18,000 m2, including 2,000 m2 for a staff residence and 22 rooms for special care. It will come complete with all electromechanical facilities, medical equipment, furnishings, external surfacing and landscaping.

It will include intensive care units, operation theatres, diagnostic services, acute medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics, disaster medicine and medical education system. The project is to be completed in January 2015.

The project, TERNA’ s first in Iraq, is being carried out through the Governorate of Basra on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

(Sources: Construction Weekly)

Posted in Construction & Engineering, Healthcare2 Comments

Iraq to Receive Two Chinese Trains

Iraq to Receive Two Chinese Trains

By John Lee.

Iraqi Railways is to receive two Chinese-build trains within the next two months.

The trains are part of a ten-train, $115-million contract with China to develop railways sector.

The handover of the remaining trains depends on the completion of the Baghdad-Basra-Umm Qasr railway line, which has been delayed due to lack of funds.

(Sources: Aswat Al Iraq)

Posted in Transportation1 Comment

Weekly Security Update 09 – 16 July 2013

Weekly Security Update 09 – 16 July 2013

Assaye Risk Logo (Small) copy

By Tom Walker, Director, Assaye Risk


In line with developments last week violence has intensified in Iraq this week with the resumption of multiple high impact attacks across the country, especially in the southern predominantly Shia provinces around Basra who bore the brunt of the violence toward the latter part of the reporting period.

On the international stage the Syrian conflict also continues to have serious transnational implications as actions by the ISI this week have resulted in them becoming more heavily engaged on numerous operational fronts.

Militants linked to al Qaeda in Syria killed a senior figure in the Western- and Arab-backed Free Syrian army on Thursday, an FSA source said, signaling a widening rift between Islamists and more moderate elements in the armed Syrian opposition.  Kamal Hamami, a member of the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council, known by his nom de guerre Abu Bassel al-Ladkani, was meeting with members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the port city of Latakia when they killed him, Qassem Saadeddine, a Free Syrian Army spokesman, told the international press.

Syrian rebels said on Friday the assassination of one of their top commanders by al Qaeda-linked militants was tantamount to a declaration of war, opening a new front for the Western-backed fighters struggling against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Rivalries have been growing between the FSA and the Islamists, whose smaller but more effective forces control most of the rebel-held parts of northern Syria.  The opening up of another military front on which rebel factions must now combat represents a serious challenge for the rebels in what is an already intense and oft confusing, not to mention draining, battle space.

At this point in time it is difficult to assess quite what the ramifications of these actions will be on Iraq but it is perhaps clear to many that the Shia militias, the Shia dominated government and Sunni moderates could welcome a situation where groups such as the ISI are focused away from domestic insurgency in Iraq and concentrated in an area where their overall influence in the Levant can be eroded at distance.

Posted in Security, Weekly Security UpdateComments Off

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