There is increasing fear among many leaders in the US military regarding the long term success of the surge in guaranteeing the end of violence in Iraq. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently raised the question as to whether “our gain are necessarily enduring.” Iraq leaders face many serious challenges, particularly in being able to create a unified government with the Sunnis who once ruled Iraq. Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, a leader in the Iraq Parliament, recently admitted; “we have to admit shortcomings in the practice of democracy. And we are seriously lacking in the spirit of consensus.”
Failure on the part of the Maliki government to bring Sunni Awakening Council fighters into the regular Iraq army or to ensure they have a strong voice in government, are symptoms of issues that will arise in more powerful ways once American troops have left the nation. The US says this group numbers about 10,000 but the Iraq government estimates it is about 50,000. The surge has accomplished certain tasks, but has it created conditions for a strong independent Iraq?