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“One of the big problems we have has been this fervent desire on the part of the American people and their political leaders to try to just ignore Iraq as much as we can,” said Kenneth Pollack, acting director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

“We may not like the war in Iraq, but we can’t afford to walk away from it. We need to remember that in 2006 the Middle East seemed like it was absolutely about to implode, and the driver for all of that was the civil war in Iraq, and the reason why the Middle East now seems bad, but not catastrophic, is that Iraq improved to a certain extent,” he said.

While Mr. Pollack said there is “evidence of growing problems in Iraq,” he also said “there is still plenty of time to catch them before they deteriorate into something truly meaningful.” But he added that the U.S. needs to “start paying a little bit more attention” to Iraq.