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The US military says violence has been reduced in Iraq to the lowest point in two years, but top officers complain that Iraq's government is missing the opportunity for political reconciliation. What's it like on the streets of Baghdad? Can Iraqi forces keep it that way as the "surge" comes to an end? Also, federal investigators slip bomb-making components past airport security guards and, in the absence of federal immigration reform, San Francisco gets ready to issue its own "passports" to undocumented workers.

Photo of Ahmad Chalabi: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Making News Government Testers Sneak Bomb Parts Past Screeners 5 MIN, 53 SEC

The head of the Transportation Security Administration told Congress today that airport screeners are not the only layer of defense for American airports. This comes after yesterday's revelation that investigators smuggled liquid-based bomb components past security guards at 19 airports. Nicole Gaouette reports from Washington for the Los Angeles Times.

Nicole Gaouette, Bloomberg News

Main Topic Iraq: The Beginnings of Peace? 38 MIN, 5 SEC

In August, Iraqi authorities said Iran had promised to stem the flow of weapons and ammunition smuggled into Iraq. Today, American General James Simmons said a sharp drop in roadside bombs across the country means Iran has upheld its commitments. Meantime, the "surge" of American troops has apparently helped to reduce deadly violence in Baghdad. But US military officials say a window of opportunity is closing. Although Iraqis are walking the streets again and some restaurants and stores stay open after dark, the government is dragging its feet on political reconciliation. With reduction of US forces scheduled to start very soon, can Iraqi police and soldiers prevent the violence from escalating again? Would the cost of staying be even higher than the cost of getting out as quickly as possible?

Damien Cave, New York Times (@damiencave)
Stuart Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction
Faiza Al-Araji, Iraqi mother, engineer and refugee
Michael O'Hanlon, Brookings Institution (@MichaelEOHanlon)
Steven Simon, International Institute for Strategic Studies

Reporter's Notebook San Francisco Will Issue ID Cards to Everyone 4 MIN, 56 SEC

New Haven, Connecticut was first, other cities may fall in line, but the biggest so far is San Francisco. The Board of Supervisors has given preliminary approval to an ordinance allowing municipal identification cards for anyone who lives in the city--regardless of legal status. While issuing ID cares will make life easier for illegal immigrants, its real goal is to protect industries that depend on undocumented workers. Will it also help prevent street crime? Muzaffar Chishti directs the Migration Policy Institute at New York University's School of Law.

Muzaffar Chishti, Director, Migration Policy Institute's Office at New York University School of Law

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