Confidence Surges in Baghdad

Residents see 'astonishing,' if fragile, return to normal
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2008 6:00 AM CDT
A man gestures as he refuels his car at a petrol station in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, July 1, 2008.    (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
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(Newser) – Economic activity and confidence in the government are booming in Baghdad, Der Spiegel reports, in a look at the "astonishing" resurgence of normal life there—despite fear that progress could vanish as quickly as it appeared. For the first time in 4 years, a popular Baghdad supermarket is stocking pork—along with alcohol, something that would have   invited reprisals by Islamic extremists. 

But attacks on businesses and their owners have subsided, and the supermarket's proprietor can now count on supplies reaching the capital from Syria. "All we need now is enough electricity to reopen our refrigerated warehouse." And despite continued pessimism about his government, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, has won praise from some Sunnis for even-handedness, Der Spiegel writes—and learned to play both Washington and Tehran.