SURFING IN TIKRIT….OK, I’m finally convinced. Things must be going pretty well in Iraq if we can open up an internet cafe in Tikrit:

Tikritis enthusiastically welcomed the Internet cafe.

“Before, we had no free e-mail, no chat, no good information, no connection with the world,” cafe user Asim Abdullah said. “We were in a big jail.”

Some in Tikrit told of how they occasionally used to circumvent Saddam’s restrictions — at risk of punishment.

Naji Dawood Khalid, who works at the new cafe, said at the previous government-controlled Internet office on the same site, he would allow some trusted friends to surf more freely.

“But they were watching in Baghdad and they would call and say ‘Computer No. 11 is using a bad site’ so it was a big risk. Once, they cut my wages by half and threatened to put me in jail,” he said.

At the same time, the story also notes that the opening of the cafe has been delayed several times, including once last week, because of attacks from anti-American guerrillas. So there’s still plenty of work to do.