Baghdad


Alstom to Develop Rail Projects in Baghdad, Basra

French company Alstom has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iraqi government for the development of urban transport in Baghdad and Basra.

The MoU was signed during the Franco-Iraqi government authorities meeting, in the presence of Dr.Sami Al Araji, Head of National Investment Commission (NIC) of Iraq and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, French Secretary of State.

The MoU covers two major projects. The first project is to implement a 20 km Elevated Train in Baghdad, with the supply of rolling stock, electromechanical systems, tracks, associated civil works. The light rail system would link Al-Mustansirya, AlShab, Al-Wazyria, Alsarafia AlEtafia bridge, Al-Khadumia, AlMuthana airport and Al-Alawi.

The second project focuses on the development of the Metro System in Basra, which consists of two elevated lines of approximately 30km each, 15 stations and one depot for each line from North to South, from Zubair to Shat Alarab and from East to West, from Karma to the Desert.

These projects would significantly contribute to the development of the country’s urban infrastructure and national economy.

“We appreciate the opportunity to develop industrial cooperation with the Republic of Iraq, in order to better address the country’s needs for urban transportation. Alstom is ready to bring its innovative technologies and sees the signature of this MoU as a first step towards the development of a long-term partnership with Iraq”, said Bernard Peille, Managing Director of Alstom in Western & Central Asia.

Alstom is already well established in the Middle East & Africa Region with more than 3,800 employees, 1,800 suppliers and present in more than 15 countries in the region with offices and joint-ventures in Algeria, Morocco, South Africa and Kazakhstan.

(Source: Alstom)

New Helipad at Al-Rasheed Hotel

By John Lee.

Al-Burhan Airways has opened a new helipad at Al-Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad.

A spokesman for the company told Iraq Business News that it’s planning to use the new facility to serve the sponsors of Frontier Exchange‘s Iraq Banking & Investment Summit, being held on 2nd and 3rd of December, by providing a helicopter shuttle between the hotel and Al-Burhan’s Centre for Business & Accommodation at Baghdad International Airport.

(Source: Al-Burhan Group)

Saudia Resumes Flights to Baghdad after 27 years

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA), the national carrier of Saudi Arabia, began operating nonstop flights between the airline’s hub in Jeddah and the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad on Monday.

The route will commence as a daily service until November 15, with double-daily frequency thereafter.

A single-class Airbus A330 will be deployed on the route, featuring 300 Guest Class (Economy) seats.

Linking the port city of Jeddah and Baghdad will provide a new air bridge and flexible connectivity for new business ties and growing economic development between the two nations.

The convenient schedule times departing at 12:35hrs from Jeddah, arriving into Baghdad at 15:00 hrs.

The second daily flight commencing November 16, will have a departure time from Jeddah at 03:50 hrs arriving at 06:15 hrs.

The total flying time between Jeddah and Baghdad is 2 hours 25 minutes (2 hours 50 minutes from Baghdad to Jeddah).

The route resumes after a 27 year interruption dating to 1990.

(Source: Saudia)

Iran Cancels Arbaeen Flights to Iraq Due to Dust Storms

The rising level of dust pollution in Iraq forced Iranian airlines to cancel their flights to the Arab country’s cities of Baghdad and Najaf ahead of Arbaeen, the 40th day after the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shiite Imam.

With dust clouds reducing visibility, Iranian flights heading to Baghdad and Najaf were grounded or delayed for a second straight day on Tuesday, Iranian media reported.

Officials at Imam Khomeini International Airport said the pilgrims traveling to Iraq for Arbaeen were required to call “199” and get the necessary information before heading to the airport.

Authorities at Najaf and Baghdad airports have also canceled all the flights because of the wind-blown dust caused by sandstorms in the Arab country.

A large group of Iranian pilgrims, wearing face masks, are stranded in airports and at Iran-Iraq joint border crossings.

Each year, a huge crowd of Shiite Muslims attend the religious commemoration of Arbaeen, by marching toward the holy city of Karbala, Iraq, which hosts the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS).

During the Arbaeen event, volunteers set up thousands of congregation halls and pavilions in Najaf and Karbala and along the road between them to offer services for the travelers and pilgrims.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Moscow, Baghdad discuss Moving Russian Embassy

Moscow is holding negotiations with Iraqi authorities on the possibility of moving the Russian embassy, which currently occupies a building in Baghdad’s Mansour district, to a safer area of the Iraqi capital city, local media reported, citing a Russian diplomatic source.

The negotiations to provide Russia with a new site for the embassy in Baghdad are underway. In general, the Iraqis are ready to provide it.  We are now assessing the propriety of accepting the site that the Iraqi authorities are proposing as this depends on the safety and the type of construction“, the source told press.   The source added that it was dangerous to stay in the current Embassy building, and only men without their families were sent to work there.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov (pictured) has reaffirmed Moscow’s support for the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Following a meeting in Moscow between Bogdanov and the chief of Iraq’s anti-terrorist service Talib al-Kenani, Bogdanov also stated that Russia opposes any external interference in Iraq’s internal affairs.  He also said that that Russia will help to enhance the anti-terrorist capabilities of the Iraqi government.

For his part, al-Kinani said that Baghdad highly valued the cooperation with Russia in the anti-terrorism fight.

(Source: GardaWorld)

Visiting Baghdad’s Checkpoint Of Injustice

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Ramadi doctor Raed Samir is seriously considering moving out of the central Iraqi province of Anbar. But it’s not because of the security or the economy there. It’s because of the hassles he faces so often at a military checkpoint on the road going between Anbar and the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

The much-criticised checkpoint, called the Al Soqour checkpoint, which in English translates to the falcon’s checkpoint, often keeps cars waiting for up to six hours. Those who abandon their vehicles to get out and walk must hike several kilometres in the 50-degree Centigrade summer heat before they can catch a taxi and continue their journey into the capital.

The process of checks at the station, around 22 kilometres southeast of Fallujah, has been criticized as unnecessarily long and painful. “The humiliation I see there and the way people are deprived of their rights makes me confident that there are other agendas at work here,” Samir told NIQASH.

“They are trying to punish the province. They want to keep the province empty and they are pressuring well-qualified people, teachers, and doctors, so they don’t want to return to Anbar. In fact, a lot of local people won’t return to Anbar, they have moved elsewhere – to Baghdad or to Iraqi Kurdistan to escape this harassment. All the local people from Anbar are treated as suspects at this checkpoint. It makes us feel as though all of Anbar is a prison.”

Startup Hub Focus: Baghdad

By Lara Saeed, Managing Editor, Bite.Tech. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Over the course of the past year, the Iraqi startup ecosystem has been through tremendous development. Numerous startup events and boot camps have resulted in the early stages of an ecosystem. Baghdad, as the capital city with the largest market, has seen a strong number of stratups that are now beginning to take shape as businesses.

Unfortunately, it is not always that simple getting information from businesses in our culture but below are some of the hottest startups in Baghdad who are willing to share their stories.

  1. Miswag, founded by Ammar Ameen

Miswag was founded in the year 2013 and is one of the first startups in Baghdad. Miswag is an online store that adopted a model similar to Amazon. The startup provides a cross-platform site and mobile application as the main sales channels that allow Iraqi based customers to place their order directly. The startup also offers delivery services to its customers.

The startup is independently funded and has been generating income since the year 2015, it made over 1.1 billion Iraqi dinars in sales in the year 2016.

Miswag plans to invest further in their inventory as they plan to become the biggest e-commerce platform in Iraq in terms of user base.

The startup covers all over Iraq with two main operation centers, one in Baghdad and the other in the Kurdistan region.

The team currently consists of 11 employees and are aiming at a 50% staff increase within the next 12 months as they plan to establish another operation center in Basra.

Startup Hub Focus: Baghdad

By Lara Saeed, Managing Editor, Bite.Tech. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Over the course of the past year, the Iraqi startup ecosystem has been through tremendous development. Numerous startup events and boot camps have resulted in the early stages of an ecosystem. Baghdad, as the capital city with the largest market, has seen a strong number of stratups that are now beginning to take shape as businesses.

Unfortunately, it is not always that simple getting information from businesses in our culture but below are some of the hottest startups in Baghdad who are willing to share their stories.

  1. Miswag, founded by Ammar Ameen

Miswag was founded in the year 2013 and is one of the first startups in Baghdad. Miswag is an online store that adopted a model similar to Amazon. The startup provides a cross-platform site and mobile application as the main sales channels that allow Iraqi based customers to place their order directly. The startup also offers delivery services to its customers.

The startup is independently funded and has been generating income since the year 2015, it made over 1.1 billion Iraqi dinars in sales in the year 2016.

Miswag plans to invest further in their inventory as they plan to become the biggest e-commerce platform in Iraq in terms of user base.

The startup covers all over Iraq with two main operation centers, one in Baghdad and the other in the Kurdistan region.

The team currently consists of 11 employees and are aiming at a 50% staff increase within the next 12 months as they plan to establish another operation center in Basra.

Crime Wave Targets Baghdad Doctors

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Crime Wave Targets Baghdad Doctors, Whose Only Choice Is To Emigrate

Last week, unknown assailants broke into the medical clinic of Iraqi doctor, Salim Abdul-Hamzah, in the Maamel neighbourhood of Baghdad.

In other parts of Baghdad, two doctors were kidnapped: Mohammed Ali Zayer who works in a hospital in the Sadr City area and Saad Abdul Hur who had a private clinic in the New Baghdad neighbourhood.

In the same week, a dentist, Shatha Faleh, was killed in a medical centre in the Washwash area.All of the above happened within the space of just one week in Baghdad. No wonder Iraqi doctors are worried.

“The recent crime wave targeting Iraqi doctors is catastrophic for the country,” Jasib al-Hajami, a senior official in the Baghdad health department, told NIQASH.

“The doctors and medical staff are the real wealth of our country and these crimes targeting them will push medical professionals out of Iraq. In fact, many of them have migrated or are thinking about migrating. More efforts must be made to protect them.”

On June 25, doctors in Baghdad and in other parts of the country organised sit-ins inside their local hospitals to protest the crime wave that appeared aimed at them and their colleagues. Their banners called upon the Ministry of Health to offer them better protection and the individuals protesting also warned of a decrease in the number of trained professionals in Iraq.

Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior says they have started to investigate the incidents and they announced the arrest of members of eight different gangs that they say were involved in the kidnap or murder of Baghdad medical professionals.

Former Dyncorp employee Pleads Guilty in Iraq Scam

By John Lee.

The Washington Post reports that a former DynCorp International employee has admitted to helped cheat the US State Department out of millions of dollars in Iraq.

Jose Rivera, aged 57, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, acknowledging that he helped convince his employers to rent a camp at Baghdad International Airport at a grossly inflated price, as part of a training program for Iraqi police.

The State Department ultimately paid $5,320,000 in rent for the property from September 2011 to April 2014.

He agreed to cooperate against the other defendants in the scheme, and will be sentenced no 6th October.

(Source: The Washington Post)