Friday, July 11, 2008

More hints of progess in Iraq

Evidence that the Iraqi government continues to make progress in their country mounts daily.

My friend Bryan over at the Sublime Bloviations blog dug up this nugget from the Kuwait Times.

KUWAIT: Kuwait announced on Thursday that it will soon name its first ambassador to Iraq since Saddam Hussein's troops invaded the country in 1990, a major step in healing the two countries' painful past. Memories of Iraq's brutal seven-month occupation of its smaller, oil-rich neighbor still remain fresh here and some Kuwaitis feel the step is coming too soon. Others fear that the embassy will be a magnet for attacks, despite improvements in Iraq's security.

Kuwait will join the United Arab Emirates and Jordan in opening up diplomatically to Baghdad. As security improves, Iraq's government has turned its attention to gaining the support of Arab nations and pushing them to send diplomats back to Baghdad. Khaled al-Jarrallah, a Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry undersecretary, said Kuwait's decision was "natural" after "positive security developments in Iraq," the official Kuwait News Agency reported.

While many in the U.S. seem slow to grasp our success in Iraq, the rest of the world has taken notice and even the main stream media has started to reluctantly report the progress.

In addition to the opening of diplomatic channels, foreign investment has also increased dramatically over the last year.

Foreign investors pumped over $500 million into Iraq through the first half of 2008, and the figure will likely top $1 billion by year end, according to a recent USA Today report.

Interestingly, U.S. companies have failed to take advantage of the opportunities and the bulk of the investment has flowed from countries such as Russia, China and Turkey.

"It's starting to turn … and the people who are getting in on the ground floor are not American," Paul Brinkley, the Pentagon official who is leading U.S. efforts to help Iraq rebuild its economy told USA Today. "It's ironic."

Ironic indeed.

I am purely speculating, but one has to wonder if the constant negative drum beat from the U.S. media has dampened the enthusiasm of American investors?

At any rate, the flow of investment money into Iraq indicates a general belief that the situation there will remain stable over the long haul. Investors simply don't risk hard earned money without a reasonable expectation that they will make a profit, and businesses need a secure environment and political stability to operate.

This represents some of the best evidence that our efforts have begun to pay off.

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