What We Would Leave Behind

If the U.S. goes, the Iraqis won't stop shooting. They'll still have each other

What would happen to Iraq if Washington follows the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group? The group's underlying assumption is that Iraqi forces will be ready to take over from the U.S. military by early 2008. To test that thesis, it is instructive to look at parts of southern Iraq from which coalition forces have already been withdrawn. There Shi'ite militias backed by Iran have taken control, intimidating government forces into submission and terrorizing Sunnis. On several occasions Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite, has had to plead with radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to restrain his fighters from killing soldiers...

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