The Iraqi government today reported that it had lost control of the strategic city of Fallujah west of Baghdad. The admission comes after days of fighting between government forces and al-Qaeada and Sunni militias in the region. The fighting in Fallujah marks the highpoint in ongoing struggles between Sunni and Shi’a groups across Iraq, with Sunnis feeling that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has systematically favored Shi’as over Sunnis. Civilian deaths in Iraq in 2013 were at their highest level since 2008, and many observers fear that a full-scale sectarian conflict could be emerging.
Does the loss of Fallujah signal the resurgence of al Qaeda in the region? If so, what if anything should the United States do to address the situation in Iraq?