MELTDOWN

Iraq's Economic Plunge

Iraq's economy was just starting to take off last year thanks to soaring oil prices and improved security, but the global recession is taking hold just as the country grapples with new waves of violence. Plummeting oil prices are wreaking havoc on the economy, where 90 percent of income is derived from oil revenues, and sales of autos, electronics, and homes are all in decline as a result. The decline is worsened by the country's inability to find foreign investors, many of whom are scared of Iraq's security situation. "The No. 1 reason is security," the country's finance minister told the Los Angeles Times about Iraq's economic woes. "And what happened in these past weeks didn't help."