On the one hand, we have clear signs that progress is occurring, if slowly, especially in the training of the armed forces. On the other hand, we’d be nuts not to be deeply troubled by growing reports that the new army is infiltrated not just with Sunni sabotage-merchants but also with sectarian Shiite militias, committing atrocities against Sunni civilians. Allawi is not reassuring on the latter point. Of course, both could be true. Which argues for a far more careful and gradual disengagement than some are now arguing for.


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