BAGHDAD—Sheikh Fawzi Abdullah, imam of a Sunni mosque in the capital city’s Amil section, looks with relief on the uneasy peace that has settled over his neighborhood.
Once-shuttered markets are bustling. Iraqi security forces control the enclave’s streets. Displaced families have returned home to rebuild their lives.
“God willing, the fitna will never return,” Mr. Abdullah says, using an Arabic word for the internal discord that nearly ripped Iraq apart after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. At the height of the sectarian bloodshed, Amil, one of several mixed Sunni-Shiite neighborhoods in southwestern Baghdad, was at the front lines of some of the worst fighting between armed groups from the two Muslim sects.
As the U.S. declares an official end to its combat mission in Iraq on Tuesday, having cut its troops to fewer than 50,000, the outlook for the country is better than it was three years ago. And yet Amil, like the rest of Iraq, is watching with mixed emotions. In addition to hope, there is anger, disappointment at what the U.S. has achieved and a sense of plunging into the unknown.