Category Archives: Iraq

Rebuilding Iraq… With Modular Construction

We have our fair share of Structural Insulated Panel companies in the UK, but what about abroad? Modular construction is starting to take off, and I actually found it quite interesting to see what new construction taking place in Iraq. Post war construction is always needed but Iraq is actually in desperate need for big housing projects and social facilities.

Thanks to karmod for the images

I think it is great modular design is at the forefront, it’s effecient in development aswell as insulation and it is obviously an effective way to clean up post war damage with modular offsite constructed pre-fab buildings.

What was Baghdad Like Post-Invasion?

So after the recent attacks, It got me thinking about what Baghdad was actually like before this. I found a Quora  from Wael Al Sallami who answers just that.

“Spanning over 79 square miles, Baghdad is diverse and too large to fit into one image. Additionally it is the second-largest city in Western Asia after Tehran. Houston is ~600 sq miles, to put that into perspective , yet has its population is only around double that of Baghdad.
Baghdad is a crash of two worlds. Urbanization brought the rural farmers into the city a few decades ago, causing a strong battle between two somewhat different cultures with the state–tribalism vs. urbanism. Luxurious houses and lavish hotels just minutes from dwellings encircled by mountains of junk. Porsches and inexpensive Iranian-made Saipas drive alongside each other on the roads.

Most of the infrastructure was built during the 60’s and 70’s. Some infrastructure was built by Saddam during the 80’s, but lots of it was lost during Gulf War I or degraded during the 90’s, and–of course–Gulf War II.

Now, if you lived in Baghdad, you might find driving to work in your 2010 car somewhat unusual. At one point, you’d be driving on a very fine road, with green trees and the lovely Tigris in your side. Afterward, only minutes later, you’d hit on a busy place– an undesirable neighborhood where kids play soccer in the street or perhaps a busy bazaar, not minding the passing traffic. But most importantly, your journey is not going to continue long without reaching a checkpoint.

You see, the approach of fighting car bombers of Baghdad would be to intentionally create traffic jams–that is, large gatherings of machines loaded with petrol.

To that end, they use a hand-held device called the ADE 651, a bogus apparatus promised to have the ability to detect volatile material. The procedure required because of this device to “work” is painfully slow.

Unless of course, you don’t have a permit, which is totally normal, in which case you can present your ID instead you present your permit and registration–,. But you only play along, and it is OK, he’s actually illiterate, so he is going to pretend that he’s capable to read and illustrate having the mental capacity as to know your own name.

Ultimately, it works out that what triggered the apparatus was your regular window cleaner, or your tooth filling, or a cologne, or your car distant, because every one of these are said to trigger the apparatus… and you can now go on with your journey.

Now, as you go from one neighborhood to another, you will find that each and every building that questions (ministries, elaborate resorts, etc.) and all the busy regions are encircled with high T-wall fences, some with pictures painted on them and stylish square planters near them in a hopeless attempt to make them less dull and blue. None of those locations had said T-walls prior to 2003, and the fact they do now means that every one of them endured a bombing attack and many were killed.

Four, five, or ten checkpoints after, you reach your destination. And if you chance to work for the authorities, then you’re most likely to spend a really unproductive day attempting to do as little as you could get away with. You might as well take two-hour lunch breaks like everyone else, that they should go wait in that other long line, and while people are waiting in line for you yourself to tell them that what they needed isn’t in your job description.

A couple of hours afterwards, because you have an empty tank you get off work and, unless there’s a fuel crisis, which really occurs a lot in the nation renowned for oil, you go to a gas station to fill – up well. If that’s the case, you would have to wait for a few hours in line for gasoline.

And then you get home. Grid electricity’s out, but that’s okay; you have a subscription with a “neighborhood generator” that runs 6 hours/day.”

It just goes to show what a mess we’ve caused and what the Iraqi people have to endure.

Surfing In Iraq

Iraq has long been in the international spotlight for very unpleasant reasons. But, there is at least one reason to see this ancient country in a positive light. Iraq is a great surfing destination! Surfing in Iraq is growing increasingly popular as more and more people learn of the great beaches and awesome waves. Don’t expect to get the same waves you would surfing at a Cornwall Surfing School, but you’ll find that Iraq ranks right up there with some of the best surfing experiences.

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Iraqi Coastline

Iraq doesn’t have much coastline, and what it does have is in the Persian Gulf. But, what a coastline it is! This is a beautiful beach, and about twice a year, you will find unbelievable surf. The regular weather does not stir up much in the way of surf, and waves are pretty tame most of the time. But, watch the weather reports, and keep your passport handy, because when storms pass over the Persian Gulf from the Indian Ocean, you are in for a great ride. The Arabian Sea is also a great source for weather patterns that can create great surf off the Iraqi coast.

Weather Systems

These weather systems from the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea will often sit on the Iraqi coast for days. Even Bahrain will find that it has decent waves, along with Western Iran and Qatar. Kuwait, which has most of the coastline on the northwestern side of the gulf, will also have some great surfing opportunities.

Sure, you hear about the sandstorms in this part of the world, and men and women serving in the military have watched the beach change shape often. But, while Qatar is getting a tremendous sandstorm, you may find terrific waves in Iraq.

1063602148_4f46757c7f_oRare Waves

There are the great surfing opportunities in Iraq, and then there are the rare waves that give you a shot at greatness. This part of the harbor is dredged regularly, and sometimes the Al Faw Peninsula will peel off a sliding left hander. Some surfers consider it worth the effort to be there when the weather is right, just to cash in on such an opportunity.

Typically, the Al Faw Peninsula will have great learners waves, with swells tending toward the southeast. You can count on an average 2 metre swell off this coastline, with a NW wind. The Peninsula is one of the top rated surfing spots in this area.

Preparation

You’ll have a little extra preparation if you plan to surf in Iraq. Remember, there is more than just beach sand to contend with. Go prepared to protect all of your electronics, including your camera and phone, from the ever-present sand. You’ll also want to pack plenty of drinking water. Keep the items you use regularly in a backpack or day bag so that you can have it handy at the beach. It pays to take snacks with you, too, to refuel for the next wave.

 

The Cost Of The War In Iraq

What is the cost of war? On a philosophical plane, the casualties in human life is staggering, no matter the war. In monetary terms, the results are just as staggering. Currently, for example, the War in Afghanistan costs American taxpayers over $10 – per HOUR! The newest war in the Middle East – the non-war against ISIS – costs the taxpayers nearly $400 thousand per hour just check our cost calculators. This is supposed to be a “clean” war, meaning that Americans and their allies will not be harmed, since there are no “boots on the ground”. As with any political double speak, this is a misrepresentation of the costs of the war in Iraq.

Costs in Lives

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The ground war in Iraq started in 2003, following war actions in Afghanistan precipitated by the Twin Towers bombings of 2001. Under still debated motives, the U.S. entered Iraq, and between 2003 and 2012, 4,486 U.S. soldiers have been killed in that country. 800 troops from the UK have died in the war, and another 400 from coalition troops have died. The estimates of civilian deaths, by some accounts, top a half million.
Besides deaths to our soldiers on the ground, it is estimated that there are a dozen suicides a day among Iraqi war veterans.

Monetary Cost

War in Iraq

Since the war in Iraq started, it is estimated that the U.S. has spent over $800 billion dollars on just the Iraqi part of the war. Afghanistan accounts for another $750 billion dollars. So, Iraq accounts for over ½ of the cost of the two wars combined.
Most military advisors said that withdrawing coalition troops from Iraq would destabilize the area, allowing terrorist groups to seize control. That, apparently, has happened, and now, the coalition troops are seeking to re-engage in that area. A “new” terror group called ISIS, or ISIL, if you want to avoid the Syria connection, has arisen, and we now have a new war targeting this group, somehow in exclusion to the wars on other terrorist groups.

The cost of war against ISIS is suspected to be around $300 thousand per hour. However, most reports are that the military is not revealing how much it is spending for this “air action”, and this is an estimate.

Political Cost

Obama AA

The war in Afghanistan had almost full support of the citizens of the U.S. The war in Iraq – not so much, since they had not directly attacked the U.S. Many people, liberals and conservatives alike, believed the Iraq war was based on Saddam Hussein’s threat to a past president of the country, rather than a direct attack. The war has spent a great deal of political capital affecting two American presidents and dividing the country almost as badly as the Vietnam war did, and with dubious benefits, with politicians strategizing both wars.

Numbers that extend beyond our own personal bank balance usually lose their significance. So, to put it in perspective, we’ve “spent” enough human lives and money to fill many, many Empire State Buildings.

Are We Going Back In?

Well, today is the 15th of September and everyone seems to be talking about the situation in Iraq and Syria, ISIS to be precise. The question on everyones lips, will we be heading back into Iraq (where we shouldn’t have been in the first place might I add).

My guess is yes, I think in a few day’s we’ll be hearing about a new assault on Iraq and it will be interesting to see the public reaction. Obviously the US/UK have some other agenda this time, as we all know they just do whatever they want. We’ll see what happens in a few days.