Finland’s Nokia will modernize and expand Zain Iraq‘s radio networks with its most advanced technologies across Karbala, Najaf and Basra, with a special focus on the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, to support the expected increase in data and voice traffic during Zeyara as millions of people converge on the region.

Zeyara is an annual event in the holy city of Karbala, which culminates in the event of Al Arba’een. It attracts visitors from across the globe and is one of the world’s largest public gatherings.

Once completed, the upgrade will allow users to enjoy improved indoor and outdoor coverage in both urban and rural areas as well as increased data throughput, leading to an overall superior customer experience.

Nokia’s project management and proven services expertise will be used to expand and modernize Zain Iraq’s 2G and 3G network, providing ubiquitous coverage and faster mobile broadband.

Additionally, the Nokia Mass Event Handler will be deployed to address the surge in data and voice consumption expected during Zeyara. The network modernization will allow visitors to remain continuously connected with their loved ones through superior voice and data connectivity during Al Arba’een and beyond.

Ali Al-Zahid, Chief Executive Officer of Zain Iraq, said:

Our top priority is to provide superior services for our subscribers. This network modernization and expansion is only the beginning of providing the best possible service quality and coverage with the most advanced technologies across the overall Karbala and Najaf and rest of sourthern region.

“We selected Nokia, our longstanding technology partner, for this important project, as we are confident that its advanced technologies will enable our network to provide such superior services. The current project will also enable a best-in-class mobile experience for visitors to Zeyara when we expect a high turnout this year.

Bernard Najm, head of the Middle East Market Unit at Nokia, said:

“Nokia fully understands Zain Iraq’s requirements and is committed to providing leading technologies to enable pioneering services for its subscribers. Nokia’s solutions cater to the unique connectivity requirements of mass events, and will help Zain Iraq address the expected surge in data and voice consumption during Zeyara.”

Overview of the solutions:

  • The high capacity and energy-efficient Nokia Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station will be used to add the third carrier of 5 MHz on the 900 MHz band, to enhance capacity and increase coverage in suburban and rural areas.
  • Nokia’s Mass Event Handler will ensure network performance is not adversely affected because of heavy traffic during Zeyara. Another feature of the software – HSUPA Interference Cancellation – handles data more efficiently, enabling end users to upload pictures without any network glitch.
  • Nokia FlexiZone will be deployed to enhance coverage and capacity of the existing 3G network in Karbala.
  • Nokia’s refarming service will refarm GSM 900 MHz frequency to expand the operator’s 3G network.
  • Nokia’s NetAct virtualized network management software will provide robust capabilities for troubleshooting, assurance, administration, software management and configuration.
  • Nokia’s Network Planning and Optimization (NPO), Network Implementation , and Care services will ensure smooth execution of the project and maximize the return on Zain’s technology investments.

(Source: Nokia)

The Iraqi embassy and consulates in Iran on Monday started to issue visa for the Iranian applicants intending to visit the Arab country for Arbaeen pilgrimage.

The formal visa-issuance process kicked off during a ceremony at the Iraqi embassy in Tehran, attended by Ambassador Rajih Sabir Aboudi al-Mousavi.

In addition to the Iraqi embassy, the Arab country’s consulates in the Iranian cities of Mashhad, Kermanshah and Ahvaz have also begun processing the visa applications.

As of September 23, 12 other offices across Iran will also start to issue visa for Iranian pilgrims.

All pilgrims will have to submit an application through a designated website.

More than 2.4 million Iranians traveled to Iraq in 2016 for Arbaeen, a major Shiite occasion marking the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS).

Officials predict that the number of Iranian visitors would hit 3 million this year.

Each year, a huge crowd of Shiites flock to the Iraqi city of Karbala, where the holy shrine of Imam Hussein (AS) is located, to perform mourning rites on Arbaeen.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

A suicide truck bomb has killed more than 80 people, most of them Iranian Shia pilgrims, in the city of Hilla, 60 miles (100km) south of Baghdad.

The Islamic State group (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The pilgrims were on their way back to Iran from the holy city of Karbala, where they had been commemorating Arbaeen.

Al Jazeera says the attack involved a rigged petrol tanker which was parked near a petrol station with an adjacent restaurant popular with travellers.

The death toll is expected to rise.

(Sources: The Guardian, Al Jazeera)

By Changiz M. Varzi for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

A day after millions of Shiite Muslims marked Arbaeen, the annual pilgrimage to the Hussein mosque in the Iraqi city of Karbala, the front pages of Iranian dailies on Nov. 21 carried large photos of the ceremony along with headlines comparing Arbaeen with the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.

Arbaeen, meaning “40” in Arabic, takes place on the 40th day after the anniversary of the death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein bin Ali in A.D. 680. It is the continuation of mourning that begins on Ashura, the day that marks the killing of Hussein in a battle in Karbala.

The ceremony, one of the world’s largest religious events, has gained more significance in recent years due to the wars and sectarian confrontation in the Middle East. This year, about 2 million Iranian Shiite faithful traveled to Karbala from border crossing points where only a few decades ago some of the fiercest fighting of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War took place.

On Nov. 21, with the headline “Hajj for Hussein,” the Reformist daily Etemad covered the religious ritual through a correspondent sent to the Iran-Iraq border. “One does not need to be in Iraq to understand the immensity of the biggest gathering of the Shiite world,” the report said. “All paths [from Iran] leading to Karbala were flooded with black-clad pilgrims walking tens of kilometers to reach Imam Hussein’s holy shrine.”

In addition, the daily published a literary piece on its front page that explains why Ashura and Arbaeen have contemporary political importance for Shiites. “Imam Hussein was the person who rebelled against the ruler of his time and against their complacent heaven and delectation,” wrote Etemad.

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Shiite Muslims are flocking to the Imam al-Hussein shrine in Karbala in preparation for the Arbaeen religious festival marking the 40th day after Ashura which commemorates the seventh century killing of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson: