Rather than decreasing sectarian tensions, Iraqi leaders appear to be pouring fuel on the fire. In recent weeks the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has arrested more than 600 alleged former Baathists who are suspected of plotting against the central government.
It could get even messier. The reigniting of sectarian tensions could easily draw in regional heavyweights like Iran and Saudi Arabia, which are locked in a heated battle for power and influence across the Middle East. In fact, there are already disturbing signs that the two countries are preparing for a showdown inside Iraq once the American military pulls out.