Since the violence in Iraq has been steadily drooping since 2006 and 2007, the war hasn't been on the media radar in months now. In part, this is because President Obama declared that America's role in the conflict will slowly transition from an active one to a passive one, with military officials staying in the country to train local Iraqi security forces.
While the projected withdrawal date at the end of the year remains unchanged, recent bursts of violence highlight a growing debate among Iraqi leaders – whether American troops should be persuaded to stay in the country longer.
A rocket attack on a joint military base in Baghdad has brought this debate to the forefront, as five Americans were killed in the incident – the deadliest attack on Americans since 2009.
"This morning, the American base at Loyalty Camp came under rocket attack. There was a lot of smoke inside and the Americans died in that attack in the Baladiyat area," a security official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.
Monday was a particularly violent day in the country – at least 17 Iraqis were killed as well. In addition to the rocket attacks, a suicide bomber struck Saddam Hussein's presidential palace, killing 11 people and wounding 20, according to The Washington Post. The strike seemed timed to the occasion, as Monday was when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's national government was supposed to take control of the building and protect it from attacks.
While the war in Afghanistan is more pronounced as a military conflict for the United States, there are 47,000 American soldiers in Iraq, all of whom are presently scheduled to leave by December.