Iraq on Friday welcomed football teams from across the region for the Gulf Cup, ending nearly three decades of repeated bans on international matches in the war-torn and corruption-plagued country.The tournament in the southern city of Basra brings together eight teams, with Friday's opening match seeing the host nation take on Oman.More than 10,000 foreign fans had arrived by the afternoon in the city, located a short distance from Iraq's borders with Kuwait and Iran, an official from Basra's provincial government told AFP.
At a ceremony marking the anniversary of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani condemned the former US administration for carrying out the strikes.
Mourners gathered Thursday in Iraqi Kurdistan for the politically charged funeral of activist Emine Kara, one of three Kurds killed in a December attack in Paris. Members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been waging a decades-long insurgency against Turkey, were among the dozens at the procession in Sulaimaniyah, an AFP correspondent said.
Iraqi telecommunications worker Youssef Ahmed is married with a five-year-old son, but lives with his parents because he is unable to afford his own home amid soaring property prices. "Even if your income increases, it will never be up to the exorbitant prices of houses or land", said 29-year-old Ahmed, who earns a "comfortable" monthly salary of $1,000, double the national average.In oil-rich but corruption plagued Iraq, real estate has become a popular way to launder money, including stolen public funds.
Iraq said Tuesday it had recovered another $2.6 million in public funds fraudulently withdrawn from a government account, but the money is still only a fraction of the $2.5 billion that disappeared.The scandal, implicating businessmen and former high officials, has provoked widespread anger in Iraq. The country is oil-rich but ravaged by endemic corruption while plagued by unemployment and decaying infrastructure.Judge Haider Hanoun, who heads the government's anti-corruption agency, said "the sum returned today... amounts to four billion Iraqi dinars" ($2.6 million).
Iraq's oil revenues in 2022 exceeded $115 billion, according to preliminary figures announced by the oil ministry on Tuesday -- a four-year high following a collapse in prices during the coronavirus pandemic.Oil production accounts for some 90 percent of Baghdad's income, and the country is the second largest producer within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)."The total revenue from the export of crude oil for the year 2022 amounts to more than $115 billion," Minister for Oil Hayan Abdel-Ghani said in a statement.