The resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq was triggered by the government's repression of Sunni opposition. But America's speedy withdrawal and subsequent diplomatic failures helped feed the sectarian tension, say critics.
For most Americans, the Iraq War ended when its last troops were withdrawn at the end of 2011. But the violence in the country has barely relented since then, and last week's outbreak of fighting in Fallujah and Ramadi was only the latest eruption of long-lasting sectarian tensions.
Plenty of media reports have compared the latest resurgence of al Qaeda-related groups in the al-Anbar region west of Baghdad with the sectarian conflict that erupted in the country in 2006 and 2007. At the time US troops (and money) helped to quell what many feared could develop into a full-scale civil war between Sunnis and Shiites.
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