Psych ops Warfare in Iraq
As proof to why I see such a divide in Iraq, why I don't see reconciliation in anyway coming to pass, see the following. Story--The Maliki government in Baghdad is planning to execute a Saddam aide on the fourth anniversary (Tuesday 20th) of the American invasion.
The symbol of that is quite clear: the government is Shia. It executed Saddam Hussein recall on the Shia marking of the beginning of the month of pilgrimmage, a day before the Sunni one, thereby declaring Shia Islam to be the correct version of Islam for the country. And the government gets to decide the religion.
This action is meant to send a clear signal. It is not to say that the Baathists are done, but that the Sunni more broadly have lost.
Maliki I imagine is shoring up Shia support as he is perilously close to having his government fall. He is as it were "stoking his base" to quote Karl Rove. al-Maliki has postponed his cabinet reshuffle which was supposed to include the expulsion of the Sadrist bloc. If he loses their support in Parliament then his government would fall essentially--he would have to run as a minority PM which given the inability of the Iraqi government to do anything which a majority (Shia + Kurd) already in tact, how a minority government would achieve anything is beyond me.
For this very reason, the Bush administration wanted to led a coup against Maliki last fall. That was why the Hadley Memo criticizing Maliki was purposefully leaked to the press just before Bush's visit to Jordan. The beneficiary of the coup would have been the SCIRI party, except that the US found Iranian agents in the offices of SCIRI leader Abdul Aziz al Hakim, but since the US has a firm 100% anti-Iranian stance and Hakim was bringing letters to President Bush from the Iranian government, that couldn't work.
Since then the US has been at a lost, left with Maliki who they clearly are not fans of, but without a replacement. Except Iyad Allawi, Rumor (and it is only rumor at this point) is that the US is trying another round of coups with Allawi. Allawi was the interim prime minister during the writing of the constitution. He is a secular Shia and former Baathist. His administration was more efficient and less party bound than either Maliki or former PM Ibrahim al-Jaafri but rife with corruption. Juan Cole on Allawi's wheelings and dealings.
Also a Sunni member of Parliament's house was raided for weapons and arrests, implicating him with the Sunni resistance. Members of government have private militias, it is the only power they have. Sadr's is just bigger than others.