Tom Barnett notes Patreaus appears to be detaching Iraqi Shia from the worst of the militias, like he earlier helped detach Iraqi Sunni Arabs from al Qaeda in Iraq:
Interesting. To extent this repeats like Al-Qaeda in Anbar, Petraeus may be pulling off a double.
Like the Anbar Awakening, Patreaus appears to be smart enough to recognize victory when it presents itself. (This is no small accomplishment.) In particular, now that the Shia appear to have captured the seat of the Caliphs from their Sunni Arab rivals, the main benefit of the Shia militias (clear out Sunni houses, protection from Sunni terrorism) have gone away.
Here’s a second possible explanation: the Shia have basically won the Battle of Baghdad. Given their victory plus the additional security that has resulted from the surge of U.S. forces, there simply isn’t the need to rely on militias, especially thuggish ones.
Ethnological reboot — successfully completed ethnic cleansing — can provide the social harmony a nation needs for growth. It looks like Iraq is getting close to possessing that public good.