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Iraq has invited foreign companies to compete for a $450 million monorail project in the southern holy city of Kerbala, which hosts millions of Shi'ite pilgrims each year. Iraqi officials have ambitious plans for rail lines, including one for a multibillion-dollar Baghdad metro. None has yet been built as the government struggles to provide basics like electricity and water.
Currently the only other monorail system in the Middle East is in Dubai. The line, which opened last year, links the mainland to the man-made island of Palm Jumeirah -- a residential and leisure mega-project off the coast in the Gulf.