After the crisis erupted in December, analysts warned the country was on the edge of a civil war. “There has been a rapid and widespread deterioration of security in Iraq since the mid-December end of the U.S. military mission there,” Michael Knights, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, wrote this month in The National Interest.Arango finishes with also-encouraging comments by an al-Maliki ally which suggest that someday George W. Bush may be remembered more fondly in Iraq and U.S. history than he is today:
After a bloody January — by some accounts a deadlier month than any last year — February had been on pace to be one of the least violent months since the American-led invasion nine years ago, until a series of car bomb attacks in Baghdad and around the country on Thursday left more than 40 people dead.
Ahmed al-Khafaji, the deputy interior minister, a Shiite whose life, like many Iraqi leaders, was shaped by years in exile in Iran, dismissed criticisms that the Iraqi state had shut out Sunnis from power.
“Freedom is the most important thing,” he said.
“Here is an Islamic newspaper,” he said, waving it about. He pointed to his laptop, and his cellphone. “Now we have 600 satellite channels.”
He echoed the familiar refrain here that it will take generations to achieve a durable sectarian co-existence.
“With time, democracy will continue, and one day we will be like Switzerland, or France or the Italians,” he said. “In the United States in the 1960s, a black man couldn’t get on a bus, and now Obama is president."