In the Arena

Iraq This Week

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The bombings today in Baghdad–Sunni attacks on Shi’ites, it seems– may be a precursor to a very delicate situation. On Wednesday, October 1, the U.S. relinquishes responsibility for the Sunni Awakening Councils–the former insurgents we pay ($300 per month) to not insurge–and the Maliki government takes over. Will Maliki continue to pay them? Will he incorporate them into the Iraqi Security Forces? Will he find other work for them?…Or will he stiff them? This is a big moment–if Maliki behaves well, this could go a long way toward reconciliation. If he behaves badly, things could get very messy very quickly.