Let's see what a gloom-monger might predict if Iraq were to descend into another bout of sectarian chaos. I'd offer these warning signs:
1. An attempt by the loser in the election to recount some of the votes to keep a Shiite dominated party in power at the expense of a largely secular one. Check.
2. Subsequent power-vacuum that leads to a widening sense of illegitimacy. Check.
3. Continued withdrawal of US troops. Check.
4. Signs that the largely Shiite police and military are alienating Sunnis in this climate. Check.
On the other hand, it appears that al Qaeda in Iraq has been decapitated.