I've been living in third world countries for eight years now, so if you're not already aware, here are some things to keep in mind.
Garbage. Full garbage bags on the edge of streets, plastic bags/bottles, scrap metal, and whatnot lying in the street, dumpsters and full garbage bags strewn around alleys, et cetera.
Telephone lines. Telephone lines on telephone poles that go along streets, telephone lines crossing over streets from roof to roof, et cetera. Lots of telephone lines cross over streets, so please don't forget that detail.
Walls. Many areas are composed of compounds, and are thus surrounded by around two meter walls topped by broken glass.
Burned out cars. 1980s and 1990s sedans and vans burned out and lying in streets. Don't forget these, burned out cars are pretty common, and keep in mind that anything of use on the car will have beem removed by locals (seats, wheels, et cetera), so burned out cars are pretty bare.
Graffiti. It's not as common as in, say, the US, but it's there. In your case, you'll need graffiti in Arabic, perhaps some pro-Islamic slogans or something. Not sure what Arabic graffiti composes of.
Date palms. Seeing as you're doing an Iraqi setting, date palms are necessary, as they can be found on the islands of main streets.
Mosques. Mosques are a necessary, of course, and it'd be great to have more than one kind, as IRL no two mosques are quite the same.
That's my input for now, keep it up! I'll try and find some references for al-Kut, if I can.