Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Basra appears to be one city that is stable and enjoying basic services. Good news as the longer stability lasts, the quicker security can be transferred to local Iraqi authorities. There should be a concerted effort to repatriate our troops and replace them with Iraqi police or more lowkey WEU forces.

The new freedom is helping to attract an energetic vibe in the city. Newly constructed hotels have sprung up all over town, filled with businessmen from Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Jordan, hoping to cash in on opportunities in a new Iraq.

Basra's streets are filled with merchants selling furniture and used cars, shipped overland or by ship. The nearby deep-water port of Umm Qasr, 30 miles south, hums with activity as Iraqi wooden boats, or dhows, sail up with goods from Dubai and Kuwait.

``This city is alive again,'' said Saeed Hassan, whose furniture store has watched sales triple in the last six months. ``We are safe to do business; we are safe to live our lives.''

An Iraqi success story, in the Grauniad too.


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