Monday, December 13, 2004

Good News From Iraq

As I've mentioned before, blogger Arthur Chrenkoff presents "Good News From Iraq" every couple of weeks. He brings us news that somehow doesn't make the cable or network newscasts. It's amazing how this news presents a far, far, far different picture about everyday Iraqi life and society than you'll get from CNN, CBS or the New York Times. Or, for that matter, from the Democrats...

Good News From Iraq
The Iraqi national elections are slated for January 30, and over 14 million voters are registered. Iraqis who fled the country during Saddam Hussein's rule are being allowed to vote as well. Thousands of candidates are running for provincial seats and seats in the National Assembly. Nations from Switzerland to China have pledged money, resources and/or people to help ensure the elections take place properly.

Iraqi women continue to acclimate themsleves to greater rights and freedoms in the new Iraq. Many nations and organizations from around the world are assisting the living victims of Hussein's genocidal legacy.

Iraq's museums are benefiting from the country's new leadership, with antiques and objects of historical significance being returned for display.

Christian churches and chapels are being rebuilt. Muslim organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have offered their help in raising the awareness of the issue and collecting funds.

Economically, the country is beginning to grow. Economic output in the first ten months of 2004 is almost 52% above 2003. Per capita income is also up over 50% from last year. The Iraqi currency, the dinar, has appreciated 27% against the U.S. dollar in the past year. $33 billion in Iraqi debts to the G7 nations have been written off, which may help bring in financial aid from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Kuwait is proposing a cut of 80% in the debt owed to it, and Russia will reduce what Iraq owes them from $10.5 billion to around $1 billion.

The Iraqi Stock Exchange has more than 70 companies listed, and anywhere from 100 million to 500 million shares are traded daily.

The largest industry in Iraq, oil, stands to grow. Already the fifth largest oil producer in the Middle East, Iraq plans to increase capacity by about 15% next year.

An employment boom is reported in some parts of the country, especially in the Kurdish north. In Samarra, economic activity was climbing to new heights, store fronts booming with goods for sale, market places bustling with movement, and decades old trash, rubble, and graffiti disappeared as it was being carried away by a robust and motivated work force. In Nasiriya, reports say more than 30,000 new jobs have been created in the last few months.

There's more going on, with water plants being brought back online, roads being build, trains being renovated and running again, electrical output increasing, etc.

There is so much we aren't hearing about in the press. Wonder why?