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Banking in Iraq – The Need for Change (Part II)

In order for Iraq’s banking system to develop, the first steps must not come from private enterprise but from government. The majority of Iraq’s banks are privately owned businesses. There are a few government owned enterprises. Rafidain, Iraq’s largest bank which was established over seventy years ago is owned by the state. Also, Trade Bank […]

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Banking in Iraq – The Need for Change

In Iraq “cash is king”. Whether you are buying a shirt or a house, chances are you will be doing so in cold, hard cash. Is this because of collective personal preference that Iraqis have? Unfortunately it is due to necessity as there are no alternatives. Iraq’s banking and financial sectors are not only lagging, […]

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It’s the Stupidity, Stupid

Back in February, I wrote a post on the need for institutions in Iraq, and mentioned the Central Bank of Iraq as being one of the only independent, competent bodies in the country, largely thanks to the work of its governor, Sinan Shabibi. True to form, in an act of institutional self-flagellation, the Iraqi authorities […]

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Shia mosque burnt in Brussels

You may have heard about the Imam al-Ridha mosque in Brussels which was burnt last month by a Salafi terrorist. The arson attack led to the tragic death of the imam, Sheikh Abdullah Dadou, a father-of-four from Morocco. A delegation from London travelled to Brussels to pay their respects to his family and the community. […]

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Women, democracy and dictatorship

The electoral success of Islamic parties in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, has raised worries about policy and legislation on family and gender issues, this despite re-assuring noises from leading figures. Earlier electoral successes of Islamists in Iraq had brought about a disorderly mix of family policies and rule of disparate religious authorities, accompanied by much […]

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It is land and not just history that binds us

Few Iraqis recognize the organic connection between the mountains of Kurdistan and southern Iraq.  Many say that Iraq is an artificial state created by the british.  I submit to you that geology supersedes humanity.  Before the last Ice Age ended some 11 to 13 thousand years ago, the sea water level was some 450 feet […]

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Living in a topsy-turvy world

It really is a sign of just how skewed our priorities are when a couple of Twitter postings about the Prophet (PBUH) cause more of a stir than the killing of innocent people. Or, as a friend of mine Tweeted “killing an innocent in the name of my religion is 1000 times more offensive than […]

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It’s the institutions, stupid.

One of the most enduring images of the Arab uprisings so far has been that of Muammar al-Qadhafi being assaulted, and eventually murdered, after his capture. The fact that this was done at the hands of people who were portrayed as being pro-democracy activists captured a lot of the debate surrounding the ”Arab Spring”—were the […]

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There is no panacea for Iraq’s problems

Thank God for Leslie Gelb, who after an entire three hours back in 2006 found the panacea that would solve Iraq’s problems; federalism. In an article by Gelb published a couple of weeks ago, he suggests that because “Shiites, Sunni and Kurds have been at  each other’s throats for centuries”, federalism that “provides ethno-religious groups […]

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The Glass is Half Empty

I thought I’d take the liberty to present a counter argument to Mousa’s. The glass is half empty. This is because we shouldn’t consider economic success in nominal terms, but by comparing it to potential, and unfortunately, we are no where near this at the moment. Yes, GDP will grow by around 9% a year […]

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