There is increasing evidence that major progress has been made in coping with extremists groups in Iraq, but as one aspect of the war in Iraq closes down, another may well be opening up. Some American soldiers were attending a meeting of the municipal council in the town of Madain when they ran into a volatile situation. As the walked down the steps leading from the building, a Sunni member of the council got out of his care, and, according to eye witness, Hussein al-Dulaimi, “the attacker came out of his car with an AK 47 rifle in his hands and started firing on the American soldiers until he was killed by the return fire.” Two American soldiers were killed and four wounded.
There are conflicting reports about the attacker. Some claim he was a disgruntled Sunni who was ousted by Shiites while other reports claim he was still a member of the council.
The incident reflects long term and unresolved issues in Iraq– the relationship between Sunni and Shiites in the clash over power. Both groups harbor strong antagonisms toward one another and it will take time and effective leadership to overcome these factors. In the meantime, American troops are caught in the middle of a growing fight which could become bloody and divisive.