Stories by Arwa Ibrahim of Al Jazeera

Uncertainty reigns three months after Iraq's election

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) with Moqtada al-Sadr. Photo: Haidar Hamdani/AFP/Getty

Nearly three months since Iraqis went to the polls to cast their ballots in a parliamentary election, a new government is yet to be announced — and the wait might be long.

Where things stand: With no party or bloc able to secure an outright majority in the May 12 vote, political leaders in the country began negotiations over the formation of a governing coalition.The process, however, has been put on hold due to a manual recount of votes that was called on in June following allegations of rigging. As soon as the final results are announced, the blocs will begin scrambling to announce their coalition partners.

Iraq's farmers hit hard by water shortages

Iraq's agricultural and farming sectors have suffered by a prolonged reduction of water levels in rivers Photo: Arwa Ibrahim/Al Jazeera

Radwaniya, Iraq — The Tigris today is far shallower than it was a year ago, and for farmers in Iraq, that's a catastrophe. 

Why it matters: Increasingly erratic rainfall across the region, along with the construction of dams in upstream Turkey and Iran, have all reduced the amount of water flowing in the key rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates by at least 50% in recent decades, according to Iraqi government officials. Abdel Rahman al-Mashhadani, an economic expert, says a large number of people have migrated from rural areas to the cities as a result of the water shortages. "Our urban areas are imploding and unemployment is on the rise," he says.

Electricity cuts across Iraq make life unbearable in summer heat

A man checks on makeshift electrical wiring in Baghdad. Photo: Sabah Arar / AFP

BAGHDAD — Power shortages have become endemic in Iraq — a country wrecked by a series of conflicts that have devastated its infrastructure — forcing Iraqis to buy electricity from private entrepreneurs who run power generators that can be seen on most street corners.

Why it matters: The problem was exacerbated last month after Iran stopped supplying electricity to Iraq because of unpaid bills. Protests over the shortages, lack of jobs and services and corruption have since rocked areas of southern Iraq, as well as parts of Baghdad. While those who can afford it pay an average of 125,00 dinars (approximately $100) a month to make up for the cuts, for many poor and working-class Iraqis, buying electricity is not an option.