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The United States has a key role to play in helping broker a new deal among Iraqi elites that creates a better balance among the country's various communities.
Last month, tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets to protest the government's poor treatment of Sunnis and, for the first time, to call for the overthrow of Prime Minister Maliki. Unless Baghdad starts making concessions, and soon, Sunni leaders could demand an independent region, spelling the end of a unified Iraq.
The surge of U.S. troops into Iraq helped decrease violence and set the stage for the eventual U.S. withdrawal. But the country still has a long way to go before it becomes sovereign and self-reliant. To stabilize itself and realize its democratic aspirations, Iraq needs Washington's continued support.