There is scant doubt violence has declined in Iraq since 30,000 additional American troops were dispatched to that nation earlier this year. But, according to General Joseph Fil, commander of US forces in Baghdad, the progress achieved in recent months is “fledgling, fragile, and not guaranteed.” The additional troops have made it possible to maintain forces in every part of the city, but he believes the situation is far from resolved. “There is absolutely a risk of going too quickly” because leaving “before the Iraqis are truly able to take over these areas independently would be very risky, and there ares some areas in the city where, at this point, it would fail.”
There are now 160,000 American troops in Iraq, a force capable to maintaining order in major cities like Baghdad, but there are still rural areas where the situation is less stable. There was never any doubt placing thousands of American forces in Baghdad would temporarily lessen violence. The central question at all times is what happens when US forces depart? Will Iraqi soldiers be able to keep things under control? Has the Iraq government created a viable coalition of political parties which can work together for peace and stability? The answers to these questions is an unqualified, no. Are al-Qaeda and other insurgents lurking in the shadows prepared to resume violence once American troops leave? Chances are the answer is an unqualified, yes. The surge will not work until Iraq has made political strides to go along with military. A political issue for Americans is how long with people in this nation go along with a major military presence in Iraq?