"Relations among major political factions have worsened substantially in late 2011 and have not improved thus far in 2012, threatening Iraq's stability and the perception of the achievements of the long U.S. intervention in Iraq. Yet, these tensions have not erupted into all-out communal or political violence, and remain confined to the institutions of governance. […] As Iraq emerges from its U.S.-led transition, Iraq is realigning itself in the region. Some see it moving closer to Iran, and they cite Iraq's reluctance to call for Iran's ally, Bashar Al Assad of Syria, to yield power amid major unrest. Others see Iraq trying to reestablish its historic role as a major player in the Arab world, and to do so Iraq has been trying to rebuild relations with Sunni Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Iraq took a large step toward returning to the Arab fold by hosting an Arab League summit on March 27-29, 2012."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21968