Tag Archive | "Sulaymaniyah"

Sulaymaniyah Museum Opens its Renovated Halls

The Sulaymaniyah Museum inaugurated a first section of its renovated exhibition halls displaying part of its rare and precious collection of historical objects embedded with ancient scripts.

The “In Writing” exhibition comes as a new milestone in the modernization project of the museum, which was initiated in 2010 with the technical support of UNESCO. The opening was also the occasion for UNESCO to reveal the Museum’s new Master Plan and architectural brief.

Under the auspices of the First Lady of Iraq, H.E. Hero Ibrahim Ahmad, and with the support of UNESCO Office in Iraq, the Sulaymaniyah Museum inaugurated on Thursday 19 March 2013 the exhibition entitled “In Writing: Objects from the collections of the Sulaymaniyah Museum”.

Organized in cooperation with Sulaymaniyah Governorate and the Department of Antiquity of Sulaymaniyah, and displayed on 170m² of renovated museum gallery, this prefiguration exhibition explores the achievements of mankind through objects featuring ancient writings from the Sulaymaniyah museum collections, the second largest in Iraq.

“Through the showcased objects, this exhibition highlights the unique richness of the cultural heritage of the region, including cuneiform masterpieces dating back to the 3rd Millennium BC. The state-of-the-art display of this exhibition creates a new relationship between the public and the museum collection. It is conceived to inspire the modernization not only of the Sulaymaniyah museum, but also of other museums in Iraq”, stated the Director of the UNESCO Office in Iraq Louise Haxthausen.

“After two years of work on upgrading the management and educational approaches of the Sulaymaniyah museum, UNESCO is more than satisfied with the results achieved”, she added, confirming UNESCO commitment to make the Sulaymaniyah Museum “a true regional landmark in the field of museology”. Mrs. Haxthausen also praised the First Lady’s contributions to safeguard Iraq’s cultural heritage, particularly in the Kurdistan region.

Posted in Education & TrainingComments Off

American University of Iraq Seeks New President

By John Lee.

The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, invites nominations and applications for the position of President.

AUIS is a private, non-profit higher education institution founded in 2007 to provide a student-centered American-style education that embodies the philosophy, standards, and teaching practices of the American higher education model.

AUIS admits all qualified students regardless of social, ethnic, or religious background. Students are admitted based on a record of past academic performance and potential for success, including capacity to engage in self-directed learning and demonstrated high levels of critical thinking.

The university currently offers six academic programs that lead to a bachelor’s degree, as well as an Executive Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) and continuing education classes from its Professional Development Institute.

Undergraduate degree programs include Business Administration, Engineering Science, Information Systems and Technology, International Studies, and Mechanical Engineering, and English-Journalism. The Executive MBA in International Management and Leadership is offered in conjunction with Steinbeis Hochschule in Berlin. Graduates of this program receive a dual Executive MBA from AUIS and Steinbeis Hochschule.

The Professional Development Institute at AUIS provides professionals, companies, and organizations with access to professional education programs, including English language studies and project management.

You can find more information here and here.

Posted in Education & Training, EmploymentComments Off

Automobile Factory to be Built in Sulaymaniya

By John Lee.

Sulaymaniya’s general directorate of investment has said that a local company called ‘Mario‘ is building an automobile factory on a 22 hectare (90 donum) site.

The company will initially import parts from China and assemble them at the new plant; at a later stage the factory will also make the parts itself, according to a report from AKnews.

The land has been allocated in an industrial area near Arabt, 27km south of Sulaymaniya, and there is the option to expand the site depending on requirements.

(Source: AKnews)

Posted in Construction & Engineering, Industry & TradeComments Off

Kurdistan to Build $5.9m Dam in Sulaimaniya

KRG’s Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources has signed a contract to build a dam in the Qaradakh parish of Sulaimaniya, reports AKnews.

The Chami Smora project will cost 6.96 billion IQD (approx. $5.9 million), and the companies Birkar and Zhina Gharib have undertaken to complete it within 820 days.

The dam will be 20 meters high and will hold two million cubic meters of water from a brook from Diwana River.

Akram Ahmed, general director of dams in Kurdistan, said the project is a strategic one intended to alleviate the drought the area has been suffering from in the recent years.

(Source: AKnews)

Posted in Construction & EngineeringComments Off

Industrial Town to be Built in Sulaimaniya

A 3,000 acre industrial town is to be built in the Arbat district of Sulaymaniyah Governorate, according to a report from AKnews.

Sulaymaniyah Investment Commission met with a number of private companies this week to discuss the master plan for “The Industrial Town of Arbat District”, which will involve an initial investment of $3 billion USD (3,500 billion IQD).

Yasin Mahmoud, spokesman for Kurdistan Investors Union, told AKnews the construction of almost 450 factories of various sizes will begin this year because all formal bureaucratic boxes have been ticked.

Mahmoud said that Iran is especially interested in the project because the EU and U.S. are imposing economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic. It hopes the project is launched soon so that it can rescue some of its factories by relocating them to Arbat district, explains Mahmoud.

“It will become a very important project for Sulaymaniyah because it will change the city from a tourist destination to an industrial hub,” he added.

Farman Gharib, Sulaymaniyah investment director told AKnews that after the master plan for the project is approved, the plan will be opened to competing companies to bid for spaces.

(Source: AKnews)

Posted in Industry & TradeComments Off

Weekly Security Update for 7th December 2011

As the US military withdrawal continues, many are worried at the possibility of increased militancy over the coming year in Iraq. Levels of violence rose over the past week with the highest number of casualties recorded in six months. As warned, terrorists targeted Shi’ah worshippers gathering to commemorate Ashura, with a number of attacks in Baghdad and the central provinces. However, the authorities reported no violent incidents in the revered city of Karbala where many of the worshippers were actually travelling to which is grounds for some optimism over the capability of the Iraqi security forces. Meanwhile, unrest in Kurdistan over the weekend illustrates that even in the quiet north there remains the potential for political violence.

Mob violence left several properties damaged in the town of Zakhu in Dahuk province on 2 December. Shortly after Friday prayers a crowd of young men roused by a particularly inflammatory sermon, began attacking properties associated with the sale of alcohol. These included several Christian and Yazidi-owned shops and at least two hotels. Dahuk has consistently been amongst the quietest provinces in Iraq since 2003 but the incident highlights the fact that even here care should be exercised. Close attention should be paid to localised developments while hotels are advised to review their security measures. Otherwise, the Kurdish region remains stable and the majority of commercial and industrial interests will be unaffected by the latest unrest. Organisations should simply be mindful of current cultural sensitivities while personnel should consider exercising discretion if consuming alcohol.

Weekly Attacks in Iraq - the last 6 months

Unlike several other parts of the country levels of violence fell in Baghdad over the past week with security heightened for Ashura. Nonetheless, a number of attacks marked the date, demonstrating that terrorists still have the ability to operate in the city and conduct attacks even for events the security forces have been specifically preparing for. Foreign nationals have also been alarmed by last week’s bombing in the International/Green Zone while the US state department has altered its advice on travel to the country with many now concerned that the risk of kidnap has increased. With almost 80 people abducted in the country so far this year Iraq should still be considered a kidnap hotspot. Personnel should exercise caution and bear in mind that even the fortified IZ is not completely ‘safe’.

There were no major incidents of violence recorded in the south of Iraq last week although the security forces continue to conduct counter-insurgency operations throughout the region. The police in Basrah in particular remain on alert following the bomb attack in the city centre prior to last week’s oil and gas conference. The province currently sees an average of around one major attack per month so conditions are still far more quiet than in the centre of the country.

John Drake is a senior risk consultant with AKE, a British private security firm working in Iraq since 2003. You can access AKE’s intelligence website Global Intake here, and you can obtain a free trial of AKE’s Iraq intelligence reports here.

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Polluted Waterways could End Agriculture around Sulaymaniyah

Once the farms around the city of Sulaymaniyah provided all of the fruit and vegetables locals needed. Now climate change, pollution and illegal dumping in local waterways are forcing farmers out.

“We can no longer grow vegetables here, that time has come to an end,” lamented farmer Mohammed Aziz. “The water is so dirty that we don’t even dare get near it,” the 55-year-old said, pointing toward the Tanjero River, once a chief source of water for farming here.

Aziz used to grow vegetables and other crops but since major amounts of sewage began being discharged into this small river, he and his fellow farmers can no longer benefit from what they describe as once fertile land. The waters of the Tanjero River, which runs southwest of the city of Sulaymaniyah and flow into the Darbandikhan Lake, are now unsuitable for agricultural use.

“In the past, the water was not clean either,” Aziz admits. “But it was good enough and we used it. At that time, not all sewage went into the river. But now all of the sewage goes into the river and the river has become so polluted that farmers are being forced to leave their land and abandon agriculture.”

This has been confirmed by Nature Iraq, an environmental action group with links to United Nations eco-projects, that has initiated a community awareness project, called the Iraq Upper Tigris Waterkeeper Project. Nature Iraq has tested the waters of Tanjero and Darbandikhan Lake (pictured).

Posted in AgricultureComments Off

Oil and Security

Iraq’s oil wealth is massive, with significant economic potential for years to come. Unfortunately, development is being hampered by endemic violence and ongoing instability. However, the main reserves are not evenly distributed around the country and neither is the violence. By avoiding the violent hotspots companies can still make significant profits with minimal exposure to the risks posed by militancy and political upheaval. Instead of being deterred by regular headlines of death and destruction, companies should take a closer look at the country to assess exactly where the risk lies, and where the opportunities abound.


Some parts of the country have oil paucity and extensive violence. Anbar province, for example, has comparatively few hydrocarbon reserves, yet it sees attacks on an almost daily basis. On the other hand, some areas such as provinces in the south or those administered by the Kurdish Regional Government in the north, have extensive reserves and see virtually no violence.


Frequency of Attacks by Province - Q2 2011

The South

By comparing the oil wealth of each province with the number of attacks it sees on a regular basis, it would appear that Maysan province in the south of the country could be a particularly attractive investment location. Accounting for over 7% of the country’s oil wealth the province suffered less than 1% of all countrywide attacks recorded in the second quarter of 2011 (April – June). Neighbouring Basrah province saw between 2-3 attacks every week over the period, but with more than half of the country’s oil reserves it is no surprise that energy firms and numerous service companies are still flocking to the province and its significant potential.



The North

Kurdistan in the north of the country is more of an established investment hotspot. As previously documented, conditions are very stable in the autonomous region, which accounts for at least 3% of the country’s oil, and more of its gas reserves. Conversely, the adjacent northern provinces of Ninawa and Ta’mim have over 15% of the country’s oil reserves between them, yet they experienced a quarter of the country’s violence in the second quarter. Ta’mim province currently sees an average of around eight attacks per week, while Ninawa province sees up to 12 and more so upstream oil and gas activity could be seen as more of a gamble in these areas. Companies operating here will have to take extensive measures to protect their assets and personnel – although business is certainly still possible in the two provinces.



Conditions seem even more punishing in the capital, which suffered more than 40% of all attacks recorded between April and June. The wider province accounts for just under 6% of the country’s oil reserves, and the violence must seem a daunting challenge to those looking to do business in the city. Nonetheless, Baghdad still houses the embassies and main political decision making bodies of the government, all of whom are involved in the oil and gas industry. Occasional trips at least will be required by companies looking to work in the country’s most important economic sector.

Baghdad at Sunset


To reassure those that must, it is still perfectly possible to do business in the capital, and indeed all of the parts of the country which still see regular violence. With proper security procedures companies are able to overcome the many security obstacles presented in the country. Indeed industry considerations aside Baghdad remains a favourite destination of this author, who even without a military background, is still able to travel around the city in relative security.


John Drake is a senior risk consultant with AKE, a British private security firm working in Iraq from before 2003. Further details on the company can be found here, and you can obtain a free trial of AKE’s intelligence reports here.

AKE will be exhibiting at Offshore Europe in Aberdeen between the 6th and 8th September. Feel free to visit stand 5C110 where you can meet the author. If you would like to register to attend as an AKE guest for free please complete your details here.






Posted in John DrakeComments Off

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