Most of these photos are taken in and around Baghdad. Baghdad is considered a large city in Iraq.
I spent most of my time in Baghdad (Camp Victory and the Green Zone/International Zone). Once one left the secure Palace/Camp grounds the scenery drastically changed. It was very run down, dirty, and destitute. The Iraqis often went without power or electricity (the US is desperately trying to remedy this, along with building schools and hospitals but the ongoing war and insurgency issues make it difficult), people were very poor. We complain about no air in the Midwest and we rarely get over 90 degrees, there it was close to 125 degrees quite often. This is not to say there were not a few nice places in Iraq. Just overall it is a very rundown country. The markets looked like this.
And many people were afraid to even go shop as this is usually where the bombings would occur so it was dangerous. I can't imagine having to fear for your life just to shop. We were definitely not allowed to get out and shop. In fact to even leave the base you had to be in full battle rattle (Kevlar helmet, vest, ear plugs, and safety glasses!) and in either an armored SUV with a security team (usually several vehicles and about 16 armed ex military men).
Or in a Blackhawk. Again heavily armed and traveling in twos.
People sold anything they could to make money and often had little shacks or move able carts. The vehicles were rundown and old.
The further away from the main cities you traveled the more destitute and third world it seemed. People utilized animals as a means of transportation.
To add to the hardships of living in Iraq were the constant dust storms. When a dust storm rolled in it was brutal. You often could not see your hand in front of you and the dust was everywhere due to poor construction.
I truly hope that someday Iraq will rise above the violence and become a great city. Many other countries have been able to. Up North in Iraq is beautiful and there are also many very historic biblical sites (Babylon, the eternal flame, etc…) that would make great tourism sites.
*Sorry for the lack of posting, I have been sick all week and not motivated. I also lost my camera! Luckily it was found in the attic last night - who knows.