Whither after Withdrawal? [EN/AR]
The rate of Iraqi civilian deaths is dramatically down, 7% of the civil war high. However it has been stuck in a plateau since 2009. Indeed it slightly increased in 2011 over the preceding year by some calculations. This plateau is the result of changing trends in violence on the eve of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, some positive and others different but equally negative and dangerous. Flashpoints for conflict in the post-withdrawal environment include the foreign-origin questions of the Turkish and Iranian bombing of Iraqi Kurdistan, Camp Ashraf, and overflow of the Syrian crisis into Iraq. The main threat to Iraqi stability in 2012 however is not from without but rather from within, notably the still weak checks and balances in Baghdad.