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Iraqi election highlights Basra corruption

Colin Freeman writes for The National:

Complete with coffee shops, perfumeries and pizza parlours, the gleaming atrium of Basra's Times Square Mall are a glimpse of how a peaceful Iraq may one day look.

Outside the mall, meanwhile, the smell on the air is not usually fresh pizza or coffee, but an equally fresh smell of sewage – the result of long-unsolved sanitation problems that also make Basra's salty tap water all but undrinkable.

Ahead of this Saturday's elections, Haider Al Abadi, the country's prime minister, has blamed all these problems on another, equally strong smell coming out of Basra – the stench of corruption, on a massive scale.

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