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Archive | January, 2012

No free press in Iraq

Attacks on both local and international journalists across Iraq have not stopped to this day, finds Al Jazeera.

Obama had high praise for the state of press freedom in Iraq, at a press conference in 2011 (Gallo / Getty)

Baghdad, Iraq – Iraq has been one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists since 2003.

While scores of newspapers and media outlets blossomed across Baghdad following the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime in the spring of 2003, the media renaissance was also met with attacks on both local and international journalists across the country – that have not stopped to this day.

Iraq was the deadliest country in the world for journalists every year from 2003 to 2008, the third deadliest in 2009, and the second deadliest in 2010 and 2011, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

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Iraq: A country in shambles

Despite promises made for improvements, Iraq’s economy and infrastructure are still a disaster.

In Sadr City, Baghdad, the streets are cracked, filled with potholes, and strewn with refuse (Dahr Jamail / Al Jazeera

Baghdad, Iraq – As a daily drumbeat of violence continues to reverberate across Iraq, people here continue to struggle to find some sense of normality, a task made increasingly difficult due to ongoing violence and the lack of both water and electricity.

During the build-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration promised the war would bring Iraqis a better life, and vast improvements in their infrastructure, which had been severely debilitated by nearly 13 years of strangling economic sanctions.

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Western oil firms remain as US exits Iraq

The end of the US military occupation does not mean Iraqis have full control of their oil.

Iraq plans to increase its oil production capacity up to 12 million barrels per day by 2017 (Al Jazeera)

Baghdad, Iraq – While the US military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain.

On November 27, 38 months after Royal Dutch Shell announced its pursuit of a massive gas deal in southern Iraq, the oil giant had its contract signed for a $17bn flared gas deal.

Three days later, the US-based energy firm Emerson submitted a bid for a contract to operate at Iraq’s giant Zubair oil field, which reportedly holds some eight million barrels of oil.

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Fallujah babies: Under a new kind of siege

Doctors and residents blame US weapons for catastrophic levels of birth defects in Fallujah’s newborns.

Congenital abnormalities have mushroomed in the wake of devastating sieges in Fallujah in 2004 (EPA)

Fallujah, Iraq – While the US military has formally withdrawn from Iraq, doctors and residents of Fallujah are blaming weapons like depleted uranium and white phosphorous used during two devastating US attacks on Fallujah in 2004 for what are being described as “catastrophic” levels of birth defects and abnormalities.

Dr Samira Alani, a paediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, has taken a personal interest in investigating an explosion of congenital abnormalities that have mushroomed in the wake of the US sieges since 2005.

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