Embed diary

I am enjoying David Smith’s latest embed diary from Iraq. Today he writes about an entrepreneur, Dr Moayad Hamad, in the Dora district of Baghdad:

Hamad, wearing an expensive watch, and smoking cigarettes despite his old profession, is the new breed of Iraqi entrepreneur. Captain Russell Matthews, Warrior battalion, 10th Mountain Division, told me: “He’s probably not been seen here before. The entrepreneur becomes leader, taking the place of the sheikhs. The sheikhs are trying to find their own in a world that’s changing around them.”

Later I walked with Matthews up what the Americans call “Airplane Road”. Chickens sizzled in flame ovens, smiling couples walked hand-in-hand, shoppers sought fruit or mobile phones or a haircut, and grandmothers pushed children on swings in one of Hamad’s new parks. Remarkably, Baghdad felt a good place to be. But the question that Hamad – and others I spoke to – don’t want to contemplate is what will happen when the Americans leave. “They must stay forever!” said one. Not likely, President Obama. The US is in danger of creating a culture of dependency here.