Category Archives: Iraq

Sports in Iraq

By Congrong Zheng

When we talk about the sports of Iraq, we can never forget to mention the soccer (also called as football) in Iraq. The Men National team of Iraq soccer right now is ranking 109 and the women national team is ranked as 126, according to FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association). In Iraq there is about 540,000 soccer players , 16,000 registered players and 110 soccer club at Iraq.  Iraq national men football team is also the leading team in Asia. The national football team in Iraq has been established from 1948.

having a record won of a total of four Arab Nations Cup (1964, 1966, 1985, 1988). On the Asian level Iraq is one of the powerhouses having won the AFC Asian Cup once (2007), the Gold Medal of the Asian Games (1982), Three Gulf Cups of Nations (1979, 1984, 1988), and West Asia Championship (2002).

Iraq have been awarded the AFC National Team of the Year award two times (2004 and 2007), being the only team from West Asia to win this award.


Political issue has influenced the growth of Iraq football team.  On November 20, 2009, FIFA decided to suspend the Iraqi Football Association (IFA) due to governmental interference.

As we talked before, there are several women issues at Iraq. Women sports also faced a lot of obstacle and challenges. But Iraq women sports are still growing.


women and women’s organizations in Iraq

By Congrong Zheng

SInce the war in Iraq has drew so much attention from all over the world. Women’s situation in this country has also been put under the spots light.

This TED talk is from a Iraq born women talk about the influence of the war has left on her and all the other women in Iraq. The war influenced her family, her education, her marriage and almost everything. Women’s situation in Iraq is not only effected by the war, but also by the religious history, the islam tradition and Iraq constitution.

In Iraq, the education gap between men and women is narrowing. However, overall, there is still 26% of women is illiterate.  Girls are less likely than male students to continue their education beyond the primary level.

Also women are the victims of violence and backward religious traditions in Iraq,  and are in desperate need of shelter and protection from random acts of aggression. These women are subject to continuous threat of being:

  • killed by their husbands or male relatives (honor killings)
  • Burnt or mutilated for suspicion of shameful acts
  • publicly executed or shot by the police
  • kidnapped and secretly murdered
  • in state of despair and see no other way than to commit suicide

For women’s right, there are several big organizations in Iraq is trying to help women defense their human rights and provide them financial and emotional help. Women for Women International is one of them. This organization is actually founded by the speaker of the TED talk above,  Zainab Salbi who also served as the CEO of Women for Women Internation from 1993 to 2011. WfWI works with socially excluded women in eight countries where war and conflict have devastated lives and communities.There women will  enroll in our one-year program learn job skills and receive business training so they can earn a living. They come to understand their rights and how to fight for those rights in their homes, their communities and their nations. They learn how to become leaders. Women for Women International (WfWI) believes that lasting change can only be achieved when women have access to both knowledge and resources.

The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq is another very influential NGO.  This organization campaigns in favor of women’s rights in Iraq, and against political Islam. It was founded in 2003. Its director is Yanar Mohammed, who is also the director of this organization.

On this years International Women’s Day also the ten years anniversary of Iraq War. The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq has special issue to recall the history and the situation of Iraq women.owfienglishposterwar

UN in Iraq

By Congrong Zheng

This blog will first start with a TED talk about  the future of Iraq and also UN’s influence in Iraq from TEDxBaghdad.Martin Kobler is personally vested in the Middle East with a vast amount of diplomatic experience in the region.

Started from 1995, the United Nations has been operating in Iraq through multiple programs. According to UN Iraq,Specialized agencies established their offices in Iraq in the early 1990s, and others UN entities, like UNAMI, after 2003. “The United Nations Iraq (UN Iraq) works at the request of the government of Iraq to support national development efforts on political, electoral, and humanitarian levels. The UN advises and supports the government of Iraq and its people and works on capacity building to strengthen people and institutions during the democratic transition.”

Specifically, UN Iraq has helped Iraq to conduct numerous electoral events since 2003, including voter registration updates in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009 and national and governorate council elections in 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2013.

For employment, UNOPS and the International Labour Organization (ILO) supported the first national employment policy, while the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) trained over 7,000 Iraqis in agro-industrial and manufacturing skills, and rehabilitated more than 20 vocational centers.

On the front page of UN Iraq, they showed  a story about how UNIDO helped local entrepreneurs, Anwar Hussein has changed his life and his business. UNIDO offered business courses at the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC). By attending to these courses, Anwar is able to expand his skills and get bank loans. His revenue increased by 35-45 percent. In addition, he owns a 50-percent share in a gas station, and water and electricity generators that support the city of Thi-Qar.

a795e43ad198ca75c00e329a1c7d431a_XLReflecting on his journey with EDC, Anwar says that “starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. EDC taught me how to maintain and grow my business.”

NGO in Iraq

By Congrong Zheng

Recent years especially after the war, there are lots of NGOs that work actively in Iraq. The NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq, or NCCI is created by NGOs in Iraq to promote information sharing and create networks.  The NCCI presented in Baghdad in April 2003. NCCI has 68 NGO members, and 5 observer NGOs, who are international and national organizations operating in Iraq and involved in all sectors of humanitarian and development work.


One of the active members in NCCI is Nature Iraq which  was created to protect, restore, and preserve Iraq’s natural environment and the rich cultural heritage that it an Iraqi non-governmental organization registered in Iraq, accredited to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Iraq’s first and only Affiliate to Birdlife International, and the only Middle Eastern member of the Waterkeeper Alliance.

There are several aspects that Nature Iraq focusing on. THey have worked on biodiversity and environmental restoration by conducting seasonal survey since 2005. They also help protect water resources. Their project, Water keepers Iraq is focused on grassroots advocacy and outreach, with an element of quantitative water quality and threat assessments.The Mesopotamian Outreach Project addresses transboundary water issues through a mixture of advocacy and network buildings. On their front page there is a short video clip about Mesopotamia.

The other part that Nature in Iraq working on is sustainable development. They focused on developing  ecotourism programs that develop and model strategies for environmental education, economic development, land and resource management, and scientific research. The last topic they focus on is capacity building. Right now they are working on a project called New Eden Project. Nature Iraq, the Italian Ministry of Environment, and the Iraqi Ministry of Environment signed a second five-year Memorandum of Understanding  to provide technical support to the Iraqi Ministry of Environment, primarily in support of Iraq’s obligations to theConvention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.