Why Is Iraq's Economy Booming?

I'm late to this story --it was in the blogosphere before Christmas, when I was in baking mode.
Wherever some measure of security is assured - that is to say in more than 80 percent of Iraq - towns and villages long left to die a slow death are creeping back to life.

Iraqis sound kind of...positive.
Newsweek has just hailed the emergence of a booming market economy in Iraq as "the mother of all surprises," noting that "Iraqis are more optimistic about the future than most Americans are." The reason, of course, is that Iraqis know what is going on in their country while Americans are fed a diet of exclusively negative reporting from Iraq.

The dinar's on the rise thanks to oil profits:
part of the dinar's strength reflects the rise in Iraq's income from oil exports to almost $40 billion in 2006, an all-time record.

What? I thought we were stealing all their oil for ourselves. Another Bush failure! The man can't even rape a nation's natural resources right. People are getting paid:
civil-servant salaries have increased by almost 30 percent, with a further 30 percent due to come into effect early next year, also has helped boost demand.
And because Iraq is the only one of its neighbors to have a liberal approach to direct foreign investment --
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the number of private companies in Iraq has increased from a mere 8,000 to more than 35,000 this year. Each week an average of 60 new companies spring up in Iraq's booming areas.
And there's religious tourism:
Najaf and Karbala have always been dream destinations for pilgrims. Under Saddam Hussein, however, few foreign pilgrims were allowed. With the despot gone, pilgrims are pouring in - and with them the fresh money.

Labor is still cheap relative to the region, but wages are good enough to be attracting day-laborers from Iran! RTWT. It doesn't diminish the troubles in Baghdad, but it's nice to be reminded we're not talking about an entire country aflame.
The transition from a rentier economy - in which virtually the whole of the population depended on government handouts - to a free-market capitalist one entails much hardship for some segments of society. Many pensioners and some civil servants find it hard to make ends meet as prices rise across the board. The end of government subsidies on virtually everything - from bread and sugar to gasoline and water - is also causing hardship.
But, judging by the talk in teahouses and the debate in Iraq's new and pluralist media, most people welcome the switch to capitalism and regard it as an exciting adventure.