One Year After Handover, Iraq Still Faces Challenges

One year after the United States returned sovereignty to the Iraqi government, life today for Haidar Rasheed boils down to three words: security, water, and electricity.

"There is no security," Rasheed -- a frustrated father of four -- said in Arabic to an ABC News translator. "We used to go out at night."

"The Iraqi government is incapable of maintaining security," said Rasheed's wife, Zahraa. "Nothing has changed in a year."

Because the water pressure is so low, the Rasheeds have to pump it to their home's upstairs bathroom. An estimated 40 percent of Iraqis are still without a consistent supply of drinking water.

Electricity Unreliable

The family has a computer, which their teenage daughter uses to chat online, and a satellite television which they often gather around. But in three out of four Iraqi homes, the electricity is unreliable.

The power shortages have created new businesses in Baghdad. Some owners of generators, including Abu Sarmad, are selling surplus electricity.

"Now people are demanding more," Sarmad said.

In fact, more electricity is being generated than before the war. But so many appliances have been bought -- often air conditioners, television, and computers -- demand far outstrips the supply of power.

Several Successes

There have been successes in Iraq, however. Twice as many Iraqis have a telephone and an Internet connection than before the handover. While still close to 40 percent, unemployment is down slightly. More children are attending school.

Most Iraqis interviewed by ABC News did not consider the anniversary to be particularly important. But many spoke fondly of the country's historic election in January.

But pediatrician Dr. Shafik Kaddora echoed the sentiment of many others -- he's now tired of the bickering and power plays within the fledgling government.

"We want to teach them how to govern," he said, "They are all amateurs, and they all coming from abroad with no knowledge."

Like so many others, Kaddora worries about shootings and suicide bombers on his drive to work.

He believes the insurgents are plentiful -- "walking among us," he said -- and it is now time to negotiate with them.

'Serve Iraq First'

Said Kaddora: "I keep telling this to my friends from both sides, Shiite and Sunnis, 'Please, serve Iraq first. Don't serve your groups. You need to look to Iraq. This is the only way.' "

He said his new government is like a youngster with a lot to learn -- quickly.

ABC News' David Kerley filed this report for "World News Tonight."