(Baghdad) — The second half of 2007 saw violence drop dramatically in Iraq, but the progress came at a high price: The year was the deadliest for the U.S. military since the 2003 invasion, with 899 troops killed.
American commanders and diplomats, however, say the battlefield gains against insurgents such as al-Qaeda in Iraq offer only a partial picture of where the country stands as the war moves toward its five-year mark in March.
Two critical shifts that boosted U.S.-led forces in 2007 — a self-imposed cease-fire by a main Shiite militia and a grassroots Sunni revolt against extremists — could still unravel unless serious unity efforts are made by the Iraqi government.
Iran also remains a major wild card. U.S. officials believe the neighboring country has helped quiet Iraq by reducing its flow of suspected aid to Shiite fighters, including materials needed for deadly roadside bombs.
Whole story at TIME
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