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Iraq: Life after the Americans

By jimstaro - Posted on 07 January 2011

Uncertainty Reigns as Baghdad Enters New Era


A mess of wires and worn switches is seen at an electrical generator business in the Karrada neighborhood of Baghdad. Many Iraqis rely on such ad hoc generator stations to power their daily lives.

01/07/2011 - Iraq finally has a new government after months of deadlock, but the cynical horsetrading has damaged the image of politics. Residents of Baghdad no longer trust their fellow citizens and have withdrawn into private life. They pray that a civil war will not break out.

The situation in Iraq may have normalized somewhat, but it is still a little disconcerting when you check into a hotel and are asked for a personal password "in case we have to negotiate with your kidnappers." The man at the reception has the unlikely name Tex Dallas. He is a former member of the elite British SAS military unit. Today he runs a guesthouse for journalists in the center of Baghdad.

According to the Iraqi Ministry of Tourism, 73 tourists visited Baghdad in 2009 -- not including pilgrims from Iran, of course. The number was even lower the year before: just seven, apparently. "By the way, it's better if you don't spend more than 30 minutes in one place," warns Tex Dallas. He says that all Westerners have a price on their head: "a six-figure price." That's the way people in the security industry talk. It will take some time for Baghdad to transition from terrorism to tourism.

General elections were held on March 7, 2010. But it took more than nine months for Iraq to get a new government led by the Shiite former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "US-led coalition forces" officially ended their combat operations four months ago. Since then, Iraqi anxiety has been growing on an almost daily basis about the consequences of being left all alone.

Months of Tortuous Deadlock {continued}


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