American troops have left the cities of Iraq, but violence continues as al-Qaeda pursues its program of war and destruction. General Robert Caslen, who is in charge of American forces in northern Iraq, said recent attacks in Mosul simply demonstrate that militants are still active and will not vanish just because Iraq soldiers are in the field. He noted there are still several issues which are causing violence in the area. Iraq and Kurdish leaders in northern areas of the country are still at odds over oil wealth near Mosul. Prime Minister Maliki has yet to extend the hand of friendship and cooperation to Sunnis.
The immediate issue is who is in charge in Mosul and Kurdistan. Kurds do not wish to once again be under control of Iraqis but Iraq hungers for the oil wealth in northern sectors of their nation. In the meantime, hovering in the shadows is al-Qaeda whose primary goal is fostering discontent and anger. At this point, the United States has lost power to foster peace.