Baghdad Safe Again, Says Iraq

Fall in violence trigger optimism from Iraqi government
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2007 7:24 AM CST
Iraqi children play in a fountain at Firdos square, in front of the 14th Ramadan mosque, central Baghdad, Iraq, on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2007 during Eid al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the holy Muslim...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A sharp drop in violence in Baghdad led Iraqi government officials to express confidence yesterday that the worst is over, reports the Los Angeles Times. While violence remains high, bombings, street fighting, and abductions are down, as are fears of a civil war. US officials urged Iraq's government to take advantage of the lull to get reforms and services in place.

Optimistic Iraqi officials credit the US troop surge, the Mahdi Army ceasefire, and Sunnis turning against al-Qaeda. "Certainly we still have more to do, but no one can deny that we have passed the difficult stage in Baghdad," said an Iraqi official. A US military official cautioned that Iraqi officials must take advantage of this window quickly before it shuts again.