Iraq, which had fallen off the radar of much of the news media, is very much with us again.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, so often under the gun for not doing enough to unify his country, took action this week to try to clean up the Shiite-dominated area of Basra. Now understand that al-Maliki is a Shiite, so his deciding to clean up the militias and Mahdi army forces loyal to Shiite strongman Muqtada al-Sadr is a big deal. A really big deal.
A good portion of the decrease in violence that Iraq has experienced for the last six months has come because of a cease fire declared by al-Sadr. It is his people who are now under the gun. This is a huge test of the Iraqi Army and of al-Maliki's mettle.
A real country has laws and is governed by elected officials, not warlords. If al-Maliki and the army can succeed, it will be an important step toward an Iraq that can stand up for itself.
Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many across the country.