Bloomberg Businessweek

Starving the Dream of Kurdish Independence

Urbanization, drought, and neglect have decimated Iraq’s breadbasket

East of the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, malls and high-rise apartments give way to cement-block factories, warehouses, and junkyards. Tucked between a freeway, a gravel pit, and a trash heap as tall as a barn, Mohammed Osman plucks herbs from four acres of gray, cracked earth fed by sewage from a nearby drainage pipe.

Fifty years ago, Osman says, his family farmed more than 10 times that area, harvesting rice, watermelons, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Much of the land was seized by local officials to make way for factories—without compensation, he claims. What remains is barely fit to produce

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek4 min read
Staying in The Mix
Members of the baby boomer generation, who in their youth proclaimed, “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” would rather not be segregated with people their own age as they grow older. As they watch their elders living longer—to age 83 on average in Singapo
Bloomberg Businessweek2 min read
Stephen Schwarzman
“There is no net,” says Blackstone’s CEO. He spoke with Carol Massar and Jason Kelly about his new book on his career
Bloomberg Businessweek5 min read
The Return of Rooming Houses
Rentals with single-room occupancies, once a staple of urban housing, were largely zoned out of U.S. cities decades ago. An Atlanta startup called PadSplit thinks they’re ready for a comeback: The company is helping landlords turn rental properties i