The Australian's foreign editor Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan is quietly optimistic, as they say, about Iraq, and says it's all down to those wonderful folks, Bushama and Bush: "Barack Obama deserves credit for wisely following the path laid by George W Bush." (In praise of good patriots & reasonable people, 2/9/10)
In fact, "... Iraq is starting to look as though it may turn out to be a great, historic American success."
And why's that? Well, for one thing, it's raining mobile phones!
"There were 800,000 odd phones in Iraq before the invasion. Now there are more than 1.3 million land lines and 20 million mobiles..."
Bonza! And why might that be, Greg? The Economist explains:
"During recent years of civil strife, when many stayed indoors, mobile phones were the lifeline. They also became a tool of commerce. Reluctant to risk their lives by visiting a bank, many subscribers transferred money to each other by passing on the serial numbers of scratch cards charged with credit, like gift vouchers. Recipients simply add the credit to their account or sell it on to shops that sell the numbers at a slight discount from the original. This impromptu market has turned mobile-phone credit into a quasi-currency, undermining the traditional informal hawala banking system." (Better than freedom? Why Iraqis cherish their mobile phones, 12/11/09)