The reduced violence in Iraq in recent months stems from three significant developments, but the clock is running on all of them, Iraqi officials and analysts warn.
“It’s more a cease-fire than a peace,” said Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, a Kurd, in words that were repeated by Qassim Daoud, a Shiite member of Parliament.
Officials attribute the relative calm to a huge increase in the number of Sunni Arab rebels who have turned their guns on jihadists instead of American troops; a six-month halt to military action by the militia of a top Shiite leader, Moktada al-Sadr; and the increased number of American troops on the streets here.
They stress that all of these changes can be reversed, and on relatively short notice. The Americans have already started to reduce troop levels and Mr. Sadr, who has only three months to go on his pledge, has issued increasingly bellicose pronouncements recently. [complete article]