Archive for the ‘Analysis’ Category

March 20, 2010 |  Huma Gupta

I struggle with the privileged status enjoyed by US companies to penetrate the Iraqi markets post-Occupation.  Iraqi agriculture has suffered extensively due to the US-backed sanctions in the 1990s, followed by bombing, instability, and continued lack of access to key agricultural products.  This has led to the extremely high prices of Iraqi agricultural products, and the subsequent dependence on cheaper agricultural imports, for example, from neighboring Syria.  It is also worthy to note that the 1990s era sanctions have STILL NOT BEEN LIFTED!  There is talk to lift these soon, however.

Since Iraqi farmers are in a vulnerable state and desperately need access to agricultural products to improve infrastructure and crop yield at lower prices, US companies will play a foundational role in shaping Iraqi agricultural practices.  And who will these companies be?  Will Monsanto be among them?  Will we see GMO-seed + Monsanto pesticides being exported to Iraq and attack Iraq’s natural biodiversity?

Here is an invite sent from  Darrell A. Upshaw, Public/Private Sector Advisor for USDA/FAS/OCBD in the Trade and Science Capacity Building Div


We cordially invite you to attend the USDA Agribusiness Trade Mission to the Republic of Iraq.

The USDA will sponsor an Agribusiness Trade Mission to the Republic of Iraq, tentatively scheduled for June 6-10, in Baghdad, Iraq.  We have recommended FFAS Under Secretary James Miller lead the Mission to Iraq.

We are looking to attract U.S. businesses who are interested in opening or extending market access opportunities in Iraq.  The formal announcement will be available in the upcoming weeks, as we are awaiting confirmation on the USDA principal who will lead the Mission.  In the meantime, if you or colleagues are interested in this opportunity, please don’t hesitate to contact me as soon as possible and I will provide additional information.

Mission Goal:  The goal of the Iraq Agribusiness Trade Mission is to provide U.S. participants with first-hand market information, access to government decision makers, (more…)

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March 20, 2010 |  Huma Gupta

Building off of Bernadette’s post on the housing shortage in Iraq, this is an article that focuses specifically on Kurdistan. It has prompted the Kurdistan Regional government to allocate $300 million for subsidized housing projects. They will also be capping housing costs at 48 million dinars (US $40,000). It would be interesting to find out who is designing and building these housing projects. American, European, Arab, or Iraqi contractors?

cost of housing is ‘number one problem’ in kurdistan
niqash | Qassim Khidhir Hamad | thu 04 feb 10

A survey conducted by the Kurdistan Institution for Political Issues (KIPI), released on 13th January, showed that the cost of housing in the region is people’s number one cause for concern. (more…)

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March 2 2010 | Bernadette Baird-Zars
<i>From Panoramio courtesy ammarakkad</i>

One of Aleppo’s main squares is in for a major overhaul. According to two Arabic-language news sites* and word of mouth, the current mayor, Moeen Chibli, has stated that work will begin immediately, ostensibly to “discover the pathway of the river Qweik.*”

But it seems more complicated than a mere daylighting of an urban stream – there are plans for tunnels, flyovers, and (word of mouth) pedestrian bridges. (more…)

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Feb 28 2010 | Pulkit Sharma

<i>image courtesy estidama.org</i>Going beyond the applicability of a rating system for the built environment, I am writing this  piece to analyze briefly the story behind the growth of Estidama (Pearl) rating system and its coming role in shaping the built environment in the Middle East in a post-LEED era. Before  coming to MIT whilst I was preparing for the LEED AP certification last year, I became intrigued and wanted to understand more about the applicability of the USGBC (US Green Building Council)-developed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system to the dry and arid ecology of UAE, and of the Middle East in general. I think I have developed a little bit of understanding about it this past year. LEED falls flat, in my opinion, on most of these counts. Does Estidama (Pearl) do any better? (more…)

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