New Investment in Iraq's Marshes

Basra's Investment Commission says it is making efforts to attract local and foreign investors to the Al-Ahwar (The Marshes) areas south of Iraq, according to a report from Aswat al-Iraq.

Haidar Ali Fadhil, Director of the Commission, added that all sectors will be considered, but with a focus on tourism and agriculture in particular.

The Marsh areas extend over the provinces of Basra, Missan, and Dhi Qar, and cover 8,500 square kilometers.

Fadhil added that the investment in tourism includes establishing an overall area to be called "Eden Paradise" in the center where the marshes, with a space of 25,000 square meters with an approximate cost of 10 million dollars [12 billion Iraqi dinars].

The second phase is to establish independent "Habitats" in different parts of the marshes.

Other investment projects will concentrate on the agricultural production.

Hundreds of Arab and foreign tourists used to come to these areas in 1970s and 1980s, but these areas were damaged in the Iran-Iraq war, and drought has turned some areas to dust.

Most of the inhabitants here depend on agriculture and fishing.

Archeologists and anthropologists believe that the inhabitants of these areas are the descendants of the Sumerian civilization, that lived in this area before five thousand years.

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