Biden visits Iraq as country prepares for final U.S. pullout

The Takeaway

In Iraq, Vice President Joe Biden is trying to strengthen ties in advance of the last U.S. troops leaving that country later the month.

Meanwhile, many around the world are looking on, trying to determine what type of country the Americans are leaving behind. 

Charlotte Ashton, a correspondent for the BBC, traveled to Iraq recently met with many people, especially women, to get their impression what the new Iraq is like.

She found one woman in Sadr City, typically described as a slum, who was living with her children and watching a large TV in their living room. The woman, Merriam, praised the U.S.-led invasion for having improved the economic situation in the country, improving the environment and giving freedom of expression to all Iraqis.

“She feels like the U.S. invasion was good for her and her family,” a translator said.

But all isn’t roses. Ashton also met a woman whose face was badly damaged by a bomb that blew up during the country’s brutal sectarian violence. Her cheeks and forehead are badly scarred.

“If you have to put a face to the losers in Iraq, you might choose her,” Ashton said.

The woman and her family say they have gained nothing from the American overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In fact, her daughter lives in fear.

“I’m afraid about my country. I’m afraid there’s another invasion coming,” the woman’s daughter said.

What remains to be seen is how Iraq will progress after the United States leaves. Will situations improve, deteriorate or remain about the same. Some thing have certainly changed already.

“The thing that struck me on our tour of Baghdad is the sectarian divisions aren’t as defined as I’d expected,” Ashton said.

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