The trip will be Obama's second to Iraq, but CBS News Baghdad bureau chief Larry Doyle says the senator will arrive to a "dramatically changed landscape" to that which he saw in January 2006.
visited two and a half years ago, Iraq was on the brink of collapse militarily and politically," reports Doyle
."Now, in Baghdad in the last year the levels of violence have decreased in almost all categories by more than 90 percent, and there is a nascent mood of optimism running through the neighborhoods."
tempers the positive assessment with a reminder of Iraq's continuing woes: "Those same areas are only receiving about eight hours of electricity a day, sewage problems persist, and unemployment can run as high as 60 percent."
Obama's first tour was treated as a footnote, while the country was caught in a growing Sunni insurgency and was moving toward a flood of sectarian violence.
"The Iraqi government seems to be finding its stride a bit," says Doyle
One leading parliamentarian was critical of the flying visits to his
country often made by American lawmakers.Mahmoud Othman, who has seen hundreds of senators and congressmen come and go, told Doyle
recently the visitors see all the wrong people.