I am a US army Captain intent on teaching myself Arabic....What I quickly found out through discovery learning is there are many dialects. I started with several other MSA resources, but Iraqi is very different. If you are going to Iraq, you need this book or at least a book that solely focuses on the Iraqi dialect. I have a Syrian interpreter and sometimes he has difficulty with some words and phrases here. He can communicate very clearly with the Iraqi people, but even I can notice the dialectal differences. There are a lot of ways to say things in Arabic and although they can understand each they simply say things differently. It may not be that confusing for a native non-Iraqi speaker to communicate, but for the non-native speaker who is just learning, it can sound like a different language sometimes. I am currently in Iraq, 6 months into my tour and I am about half way through the book. Already I am able to have very basic conversations and I can pick out a lot of words in any conversation. The outstanding drills do eventually take hold. I'll hear a conjugation of a word and I'll know what it means. Its my lack of vocabulary that is holding me back, but that should come with some more time. The drills must be listened to, not read. You have to train you brain to hear and comprehend it. The MP3s that come with the book really make it a complete package. It takes a while to understand, but you'll start to understand it. It makes it worthwhile when you can pick up even a few words out of a conversation.
Don't expect to learn the script with this book. It isn't in it. The intent of this book is listening and understanding and responding, not reading and writing. The phonics section is outstanding, it tells you exactly how to hold you tongue to make all the sounds. BTW there are 31 consanants in Iraqi Arabic, a couple more than MSA. Not a big deal, the book will have you pronouncing the sounds almost like a native.