Baghdad Mayor Thikra Alwash, 60-year-old civil engineer and only woman mayor of a Middle East capital, speaks to civilians during a tour at al-Rashid street in the Iraqi capital on January 29, 2018. AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
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The mayor of Baghdad wants to revive her war-torn city, reconstruct its decrepit infrastructure and twin it with Paris – another female-led metropolis.Alwash has prioritized repairing war-scarred infrastructure and restoring the city's heritage – but to do so, she needs to find the money.with adequate funding, that is no small task in a city that sprawls over 900 square kilometers.Baghdad's infrastructure was laid to waste by a 13-year international embargo against the regime of late dictator Saddam Hussein, the 2003 United States-led invasion that toppled him and the subsequent years of sectarian violence, culminating in the blood-soaked rise and fall of Daesh (ISIS).Today, Baghdad has more than 7 million inhabitants, up 45 percent since 2015, a year after Daesh seized a third of the country and triggered a rural exodus.Caecilia Pieri, a researcher at the French Institute of the Near East and author of a book on Baghdad's history since World War I, said both cities had experienced urban destruction – Paris had seen "four revolutions and three wars".
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