Security checkpoints cover the landscape of Baghdad, slowing traffic but freeing up the city to return to normal life after years of violence.
While the U.S. military surged its numbers in Iraq in the past 18 months, there was also a swell in the ranks of the Iraqi Army and Police, helping take the burden of the U.S. military stationed there.
Now there are far fewer American soldiers and Marines in the streets; all these checkpoints are manned by Iraqis. It is an important part of the fundamental policy the U.S. and Iraqi governments hope to achieve: placing Iraqis in control of their own city and country.
Baghdad was essentially in lockdown for two years, sometimes held under 24-hour curfews during the worst periods of violence.
Progress and a return to normalcy is slow but evident, reflected as much in the marketplace as the booming stock market.
The stock market has increased tenfold since it opened in June 2004. Investments are rolling in to Iraq — major hotels being planned, commercial districts in the works — all made possible by the surge and the successes of the Iraqi security forces.
FOX News' Bill Hemmer contributed to this report.