Iraqis return home to the war-torn country [AFP]
Thousands of Iraqis are returning home to Baghdad and other cities in the war-torn country.     

The US military says violence and bloodshed across Iraq have fallen to their lowest level since February 2006, attributing this partly to the arrival of nearly 30,000 more soldiers earlier this year.

US commanders claim violence in Iraq has dropped by 55 per cent since the military 'surge' became fully operational in June. This is despite the fact that 2007 has been the bloodiest year for US troops killed in Iraq. 

In recent months, Sunnis have turned against al-Qaeda in Iraq and are cooperating with US and Iraqi government forces in driving extremists out of their neighbourhoods and villages.

The US has also acknowledged Iran's role in helping quell the bloodshed in Iraq, saying Tehran had contributed to stopping the flow of arms across the border into the country.

Syria which has been host to an estimated 1.5 million Iraq refugees, has recently imposed tougher visa requirements, making it more difficult for Iraqis to stay, resulting in an exodus of them heading home.

Is this improved stability and security in Iraq permanent?

Are these important signposts that the political situation in Iraq has turned around, with support from its neighbours, Iran and Syria?        

Our guests this week are:

James Carafano from the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, Fareed Sabri, a spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party, and Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, a vice-spokesman MNIF in Baghdad.

Watch the first part of this episode of Inside Iraq

Watch the second part of this episode of Inside Iraq

This episode of Inside Iraq aired from Friday, November 23, 2007

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