I take no joy from being proven right, but it appears that I–and other advocates of a continued American military presence in Iraq–were right to warn of the dangers of withdrawal. The Associated Press reports from Baghdad:
June was the second-deadliest month since U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq in mid-December as insurgents exploited the political struggles between the country’s ethnic and sectarian factions. More significant than the numbers was the fact that insurgents appeared able to sustain the level of violence over a longer period than usual. There was a major deadly bombing or shooting rampage almost every three days, many targeting Shiite pilgrims.
The violence has brought the weakness of Iraq’s security apparatus into sharp focus even as deepening political divisions dim the prospects that the country will emerge as a stable democracy after decades of war and dictatorship.
Indeed, 50 more Iraqis died on Tuesday in a fresh round of bombings.
Not all is gloom and doom to be sure. The New York Times reports, for example, on the opening of new Western-style shopping malls in Baghdad. But with violence levels rising and with Prime Minister Maliki increasingly accumulating dictatorial powers–the two trends are related because the more the political system breaks down, the more likely it is that various parties will resort to violence–the outlook for Iraq is a good deal less bright than it was a year ago when it appeared likely there would be a residual American troop presence past 2011.