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The project was announced this month by Kurdish leaders led by regional Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in Dubai, home of the developer Damac Properties.

Though Kurdish citizens have complained about a lack of jobs. Mr. Barzani said at a news conference that the Tarin Hills project will create local employment.

Although Iraqi Kurdistan is hands-down safer than the rest of Iraq, there are still complaints.

Mohammed Maulod Waily sits in his cafe overlooked by the KRG capital’s historic citadel and criticizes a lack of health care, education and a weakening currency.

“During the liberation and invasion the U.S. has promised Iraqis with a lot of dreams and a lot of nice things to do,” Mr. Waily, 47, said as the crowd of early afternoon customers grew, looking for tea and a game of pool.

“Now we can see that Baghdad and the south going worse and worse day after day. People left their houses. Where did all their promises go?”

But in Kurdistan he sees a brighter future. He now owns two personal computers - two more than before 2003.

“Life has been changed. We need more than before to have a good life,” he said. And with Kurdistan finally getting a cut of Iraq’s oil revenue, Mr. Waily wants better redistribution. “They should do some projects. Give this to people. Spend on people to have a better life.”

There are more than 100 private investment projects in Iraq Kurdistan totaling more than $16 billion, a Kurdish financial officer told United Press International.

The Kurdistan Investment Authority was established in 2006 as part of a regional investment law to encourage redevelopment. It exempts investment projects in the region from non-custom taxes and duties for 10 years.