As the US military prepares to withdraw from Iraq's cities, security officials in both countries have observed that a smaller but more lethal insurgency seems to be gaining ground. Several recent bombings, believed to be orchestrated by al-Qaeda in Iraq, have killed 123 people in Baghdad and elsewhere, while members of the Sunni Awakening Movement have faced assassination attempts. As the New York Times reports, the attacks are a reminder of instability in a country that has been relatively peaceful of late.
Many in Iraq have observed the rise of sleeper cells and the revival of insurgent groups linked to Saddam Hussein's rule. Sectarian rivalries between the Awakening and the largely Shiite Iraqi police have also caused troubles, including a shootout in Baghdad this weekend. One Iraqi official said that "what we are seeing is the resurgence of the hard-core Saddamists, but using al-Qaeda in Iraq as a front."