Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Once an Arab model, Baghdad now world's worst city  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 21/03/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!

(MENAFN - AFP) As recently as the 1970s, Baghdad was lauded as a model city in the Arab world. But now, after decades of seemingly endless conflict, it is the world's worst city.That is, at least, according to the latest survey by the Mercer consulting group, which when assessing quality of life across 239 cities, measuring factors including political stability, crime and pollution, placed Baghdad last.The Iraqi capital was lumped with Bangui in the conflict-hit Central African Republic and the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, the latest confirmation of the 1,250-year-old city's fall from grace as a global intellectual, economic and political centre.Residents of Baghdad contend with near-daily attacks, a lack of electricity and clean water, poor sewerage and drainage systems, rampant corruption, regular gridlock, high unemployment and a myriad other problems."We live in a military barracks," complained Hamid al-Daraji, a paper salesman, referring to the ubiquitous checkpoints, concrete blast walls and security forces peppered throughout the city."The rich and the poor share the same suffering," the 48-year-old continued. "The rich might be subjected at any moment to an explosion, a kidnapping, or a killing, just like the poor."Our lives are ones where we face death at any moment."It was not always so for the Iraqi capital.Construction of the city on the Tigris River first began in 762 AD during the rule of Abbasid caliph Abu Jaafar al-Mansur, and it has played a pivotal role in Arab and Islamic society ever since.In the 20th century, Baghdad was held up as a gleaming example of a modern Arab city with some of the region's best universities and museums, a highly-educated elite, a vibrant cultural scene and top-notch healthcare.Officials still note how their counterparts from the region would hold up Baghdad's international airport as a model, and oil cartel OPEC was founded in the Iraqi capital.And it was home to a diverse population of Muslims, Christians, Jews and others."Baghdad represented the economic centre of the Abbasid state," noted Issam al-Faili, a professor of political history at the city's Mustansiriyah University, an institution which traces its own history back nearly 800 years."It was used as a base for taking control of neighbouring areas in order to strengthen Islamic influence.""It used to be a capital of the world," Faili said, "but today, it has become one of the world's most miserable cities."

In February alone, 57 violent incidents struck the Iraqi capital, including 31 car bombs. As recently as March 5, a dozen shootings and bombings across the city killed 20 people. The very next day, four more bombings left 11 dead.Security forces typically respond with heavy-handed tactics reliant on setting up new checkpoints to add to the plethora already scattered around Baghdad, and restricting movement as much as possible.Massive concrete walls, designed to withstand the impact of explosions, still divide up confessionally-mixed neighbourhoods, while the government sits in the heavily-fortified Green Zone, which is also home to parliament and the US and British embassies, access to which is difficult for ordinary Iraqis.- Uphill task -Some are working to clean up the city and beautify it, but even they acknowledge the uphill task facing them."I am actually hurt that Baghdad ranked among the worst cities in the world," said Amir al-Chalabi, head of the Humanitarian Construction Organisation, an NGO which runs civic campaigns aimed at improving the city's services."Successive governments have not worked to develop Baghdad," he said."It has become deserted, and it suffers from instability. At night, it turns into a ghost town because of the lack of lighting."Messes of electrical wires run along neighbourhood streets, as privately-operated communal generators work to make up for the shortfall in provision from the national grid, albeit at a price.

Poor drainage means that even moderate levels of rainfall during the winter lead to flooding, as pools form on the city's potholed streets, while scorching summer heat forces the government to regularly declare national holidays.Economic growth nationwide is strong, thanks to healthy oil production, but because the industry is not labour-intensive, it has not made a major dent in unemployment, including in the capital."Baghdad's problems cannot be counted," said Daraji, the paper seller."The situation in Baghdad is sad. Sometimes it makes us cry -- beautiful Baghdad is today in ruins."



  MENA News Headlines
 Nov 26 2015 - Turkey- G20 Communiqu: 34The fight against terrorism is a major priority34The Journal Of Turkish Weekly
(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) Following the two-day summit in Antalya Turkey G-20 leaders released a communiqué calling for greater coordination and information to counter terrorist ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Muslims on 39the front line39 against terror: NATOThe Journal Of Turkish Weekly
(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said it is Muslims who are on “the front line” in the fight against terrorism and extremism. ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Western Balkans 39key to fighting extremism39The Journal Of Turkish Weekly
(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) The western Balkans is “key” to stemming extremism and terrorism the president of the European Council said Wednesday. Speaking at a summit to ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Turkey- Syrian Turkmen facing 39critical39 period in battleThe Journal Of Turkish Weekly
(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) Fighting between Syrian Turkmen forces and regime troops is “critical" the leader of the Turkmen opposition said Wednesday. Russian airpower is ...

 Nov 26 2015 - ISIS kills its Austrian 39poster girl39 after she attempts to flee SyriaThe Journal Of Turkish Weekly
(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) An Austrian teenager who fled to Raqqa Syria in order to join the Islamic fundamentalist terror organization Islamic State was beaten to death after ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Kuwait Spain discuss scientific cooperationKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT Nov 26 (KUNA) -- Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) and Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) discussed means of scientific cooperation and ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Kuwait- KNPC upgrades operations at Al Ahmadi refineryKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT Nov 26 (KUNA) -- Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation (KNPC) announced on Thursday upgrading its Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit at Al-Ahmadi Refinery so as ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Deputy FM: Kuwait interested in tightening airport security in coordination with BritainKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT Nov 26 (KUNA) -- Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said on Thursday Kuwaiti security authorities are keen to work with the British side for ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Al Tayer affirms DEWA's commitment to support UAE national identityEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) DUBAI 26th November 2015 (WAM) -- Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority DEWA has affirmed DEWA's commitment to ...

 Nov 26 2015 - UAE- YFEL Led Solar Energy Project with Masdar Collaboration Comes Online to Help Power Rashid Abdullah Omran HospitalEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) ABU DHABI 26th November 2015 (WAM)--Masdar has completed a 543 KWp photovoltaic (PV) solar power project that is to deliver renewable energy to the Rashid ...




Click to Apply


Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices


Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks

Saudi Arabia 

Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor


Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters

© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help