Where Things Stand

Outside the tense Sunni triangle, Iraq is displaying a new dynamism. For a joint report, TIME and ABC News traveled the land to chronicle the changes

On the dock of Abu Fulus port, 20 miles south of Basra, Bassem Saghair deftly works the controls of a crane as he unloads air-conditioning units from the hold of the Hussaini. The ship is one of a dozen crowding the waterfront that have sailed from Dubai up the Shatt al-Arab River laden with consumer goods. Saghair, 15, quit school for this job, which pays $360 a month, double the highest salary any Iraqi official earns from U.S.-occupation authorities. "Life is not bad," says Saghair, with a shy smile spreading under the beginnings of a mustache.

Abu Fulus, which means...

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