The Iraq We Left Behind, Is It a Democracy?

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As Iraq heads into parliamentary elections on Wednesday, the country is slipping back into civil war. Dozens of people have died at a campaign rally and polling sites. Fighting in Anbar province has destroyed villages and turned tens of thousands of Iraqis out of their homes. Scores of people were killed in suicide bombings at polling centers, where police and other government officials are casting early ballots. On Friday more than 30 people died in explosions at a campaign rally for Shiite groups in Baghdad. This year is on track to be the bloodiest since the height of sectarian violence in Iraq in 2006 and 2007. Will bloodshed and religious strife derail democracy? Will this election change anything given Iraq's increasingly authoritarian Prime Minister? Should the US recommit to help stabilize this fledgling democracy it withdrew from little more than two years ago?