6 Months After U.S. Combat Troops Left, Can Iraq Go It Alone?
Sitting in his cramped construction site office, Falah al-Sayegh lays out his company’s vision: a 160,000-square-foot shopping mall, medical clinic and luxury hotel topped by a restaurant with sweeping views of the city.
Falah al-Sayegh is the manager of a $100 million construction project to build a shopping mall and luxury hotel in downtown Baghdad.
“This is the talk of the town,” says al-Sayegh as he strides across the muddy construction site.
Six months after the last U.S. combat troops left, an Iraq free of Saddam Hussein and overseen by a democratically elected government midwifed by the United States is standing on its own despite ever-present dangers from within and outside its borders.
But the United States paid a heavy price in Iraq. More than 4,400 American servicemembers died during eight years of war and occupation, and according to recent polls, most Americans say the war wasn’t worth it.
Hundreds of Iraqis have been killed in terror attacks since the last U.S. troops withdrew in December. Iran continues to retain ties to Shiite militias operating in Iraq. Political differences between the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds have frequently boiled over into threats of civil war. The government struggles to provide basic services, such as electricity.
Yet most Iraqis seem to feel that politics and feuds should not be permitted to impede what really matters: continued progress in their day-to-day lives reflected by an improving economy, booming oil revenue and a representative government.