USA Today’s Paul Wiseman describes Iraq’s booming economy:
”The regime is gone,” says Osama al-Quraishi, an Iraqi entrepreneur who returned to Baghdad to search for business opportunities after decades in exile in Europe and the Middle East. ”There are no restrictions. There are no rules.” He predicts Baghdad will soon replace Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, as the Middle East’s commercial center
Under Saddam, the shops were silent, the goods available were obsolete or absurdly overpriced, and the cars were clunkers dating back 15 or 20 years. Now that Saddam is gone, signs of bounty are visible everywhere in Baghdad and to a lesser extent in smaller cities such as Mosul and Basra.
The World Bank says Iraq’s economy shrank by nearly a third last year after several years of smaller declines. The World Bank projects a sharp rebound in 2004 — growth ranging anywhere from 30% to 70% — and an overall economy worth $17 billion to $22 billion.
As long as regulation remains low, Iraq’s economy will continue to grow. Once the booming economy has started to benefit a large majority of Iraqis, the terrorists will be doomed. So the next year or two are critical.