Marc Lynch (who-if you claim to have any interest in Iraq-you really should be reading regularly) details the troubling political developments in Iraq, and predicts that events may be coming to a head if the Maliki government continues to resist the integration of members of the Awakenings movement into leadership positions and positions within the national security forces, signs of course of their continuing unwillingness to share power with the Sunni minority. As a resumption of the Iraqi insurgency would completely derail the withdrawal talk on both the part of the Bush administration and the presumptive Presidential candidates, and represent a very serious setback of our strategy in Iraq, then this is something we really need to be paying attention to. Dr. iRack (who you also really, really should be reading) explains some of these developments in more detail, and the portrait he paints in general is not at all reassuring.
UPDATE: The Washington Post is reporting that a deal between the Iraqi and American governments that has American combat troops out by the end of 2010 is nearing completion, and the only hang-up is immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law for American troops. Of course, withdrawal will be hugely complicated by any deterioration in Sunni-Shiite-Kurdish relations. If conflict between Sunni tribes and Awakenings members and the Shiite majority were to slowly break out again, we would again hear all sorts of arguments for why our forces must remain in Iraq. Naturally, a Maliki government that feels capable of dealing with a Sunni insurgency (and any other troublesome actors, like the Mahdi Army) will feel no such compunction, and will remain as eager for our combat forces (but not our money, or our equipment) to leave. And our great adventure in Iraq would have ended in a most distasteful manner, with a Shiite government largely allied with Iran repressing the Sunnis we helped kick out of power.