American troops have withdrawn from the streets of Iraq cities, but the beat of violence goes on and on. The pullout was celebrated by al-Qaeda and other militants with a twenty four gun salute of bombs that left 33 dead in Kirkuk and 92 wounded. Iraq had a holiday to hail the event, but for some reason militants believed that meant they had permission to bomb at will. Prime Minister Maliki said it was “an offence to the Iraqis” to believe that once foreign troops left the cities, there would even more violence. President Obama warned “make no mistake, there will be difficult days ahead. We know that violence in Iraq will continue.” Words of warning or a statement about the future?
The violence has everything and nothing to do with the presence of American troops in cities. Prime Minister Maliki has failed to integrate Sunnis into either his government or the armed forces. The success of the Awakening Councils has ended because Maliki has refused to work with its leaders in a new coalition of concerned Iraqis. There will be violence until Maliki gets serious about uniting the nation.