Kevin Davie travels to Iraq, the revived marshland home of the enemies Saddam Hussein set out to destroy.
Security forces in Iraq have freed hostages at a city council office and killed one suicide bomber, says an official.
Iraqis condemned authorities on Sunday for failing to stop a wave of deadly unrest including attacks that killed dozens of people the day before.
The worst violence since 2008 hit Iraq in May, raising fears of sectarian strife as leaders meet for talks on disputes that have paralysed government.
In the 1980s Iraqi women enjoyed more basic rights than other women in the region, but years of dictatorship has led to deterioration in their status.
Iraq may have been trumpeted as the top destination for investment, but experts warn that myriad problems keep it from being a good choice for all.
The killing of one of his key Iraqi allies on the day he announced a troop pull-out from Iraq came as a stark reminder to United States President George Bush of just how precarious the situation still is in Iraq. Political analysts believe the country will unravel even further, hastened by Bush's decision to withdraw 21 500 combat troops by next July.
Randel Parks pushed his hands into the pockets of his jeans and rocked back on the heels of his cowboy boots. "I've been here 30 years," he said, staring at the ground, "and I've spent most of my adult life working on this property, turning it into my piece of paradise. I'll be damned if I'm going to let them spoil it."