State of Iraq

The quarterly "State of Iraq" figures, by Mike O’Hanlon and coauthors, came out in the NYT last Fri. Here’s their summary (click on the chart on the left to enlarge):

20050603_opchart"Many Iraqis today are wealthier than they were before the invasion, with more bustle in the streets and a new stock market that is trading billions of shares a month; yet by other measures, like electricity availability and the unemployment rate, Iraq’s economy appears weaker than it was during the Baathist reign.

Much has been made, rightly, of the intensification of the insurgency. Last month’s toll on United States troops was well above the average for the last two years, and was the deadliest yet for Iraqi security forces. Still, Iraqis are providing authorities with far more tips on insurgent activities than even a few months ago. And most people remain optimistic about the future. Even Sunni Arabs , who provide the largest pool of recruits for the insurgency, seem slightly more hopeful than a year ago. This optimism is welcome, because with security conditions poor and the economy a mixed bag, the fledgling political process has increasingly become Iraq’s main good news – and main hope."

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