U.S. troop casualties in Iraq declined slightly in July, dropping to 2006 levels for the month. There’s also some evidence that sectarian violence in Iraqi neighborhoods was vaguely less brutal in July than it was in previous months. Obviously, both of these trends are good news.
But let’s not forget the point of the current administration policy: U.S. forces are trying to provide stability necessary for political progress. In this sense, Iraq is getting worse, not better.
Iraq’s largest Sunni Arab political bloc announced its withdrawal from the government Wednesday, undermining efforts to seek reconciliation among the country’s rival factions, and three bombings in Baghdad killed at least 70 people.
Maliki’s “national unity” coalition is falling apart, and there’s ample talk that the Prime Minister may even be forced from office, thanks in part to the efforts of his predecessor, Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
As Marc Lynch explained, the deterioration of Iraqi political progress helps highlight the obvious failure of the administration’s stated policy.