Jack Serle

Posts Tagged ‘Erbil’

Oh to Hell with it all, it’s a question of infrastructure you see

In Kurdistan on January 8, 2012 at 4:29 PM

In 1991 Saddam Hussein had his nose well and truly biffed and bloodied by Uncle Sam and friends. The Kurds had the temerity to choose that moment to declare themselves autonomous from Baghdad. Saddam, broke and running low on bullets, decided to cut them off from all government funding. Perhaps he hoped starvation would do what his army failed.

As a consequence of this issolation, crippling UN sanctions and an idiotic civil war Kurdistan spent the years leading up to the 2003 occupation very much on its uppers. What little income the nascent Kurdish government could get was gleaned from black market trade throughTurkey, Iran and Syria. The ramifications of this penury are writ large in the woeful state of Erbil’s infrastructure. Read the rest of this entry »


It hits the fan, staying objective

In Kurdistan on December 22, 2011 at 3:16 PM

This post was written before the true extent of the day’s events in Baghdad became clear. I will return to these terrible events when the dust has cleared.

Hour by hour the situation changes, seemingly ever escalating. Everyone I spoke to assumed things were going to get interesting once the Americans left Iraq. I was working under the impression that the overt US military presence would have left by 22 December.

It came as a bit of a surprise that they disappeared in the night of 18 December. What was more surprising was the dust had barely had time to settle on the convoy tracks before the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shia, started to bust his political opponents.

Read the rest of this entry »

Joining the millionaire’s club

In Kurdistan on November 7, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Last week I became a millionaire. Not undeserved I think you will agree, excellence deserves reward.

It was a happy moment when my wealth was passed to me by my employer’s finance director. It was a big wedge of Iraqi dinars and, having checked with the current exchange rates and prices, ID1m is enough to buy half a piece of tuna nigri in London.

Read the rest of this entry »

A tale of two cities, the best English service in Iraq

In Kurdistan on November 5, 2011 at 12:45 PM

After a three legged, 17 hour journey my arrival could not come soon enough. Lights spread out beneath me in pattern-less sprays of colour. The plane hit the tarmac and the night around our fetid little tube was suffused with sodium orange. My EgyptAir flight had touched down in Erbil. Capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region, fourth largest city in Iraq and my home for the next three months.

The brand new international airport, all marble and glass, was not quite what I expected though a pleasant surprise it was. That I was met at the airport was something special. That I was taken to a half built house with no lavatory, shower or working lights was also special.

Read the rest of this entry »