Beats me. Here are, so far as I can tell, the two most coherent explanations for what seems like a serious outbreak of warfare and violence:
a) the success of the surge, giving the Maliki government confidence to take on Shiite militias in Basra and Baghdad;
b) the failure of the surge, as the lack of any real political progress is leading rival Shiite forces to struggle for power as they sense the US draws down.
"Everyone's still guessing now. And anyone who claims that they've figured out whether this is going to be good or bad already, I think, is guilty of wishful thinking or just premature analysis at best."
(Photo: An Iraqi shopkeeper looks at his damaged shop in a market, burned during last nights clashes between Mahdi Army fighters and Iraqi forces, in the impoverished Shiite district of Sadr City on March 26, 2008 in Baghdad, Iraq. Clashes erupted between militiamen loyal to the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and Iraqi and U.S forces in the Sadr city Shiite district. Four civilians were killed and many more wounded in the clashes. By Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images.)