Reduced violence aids relations

The World

The city of Balad has been home to a huge American air base but there was never much interaction between troops and civilians. Things have changed though. This American commander introduces an army band at a local soccer game. He still has a lot of security, but the fact that an American commander is standing in an open field without a helmet on is a sign of significant progress. It looks like the Iraqis and Americans have come out for a county fair. This resident says the U.S. Army is keeping things safe and calm because Balad is a mixed Sunni-Shiite city. No one here thinks Iraq is fixed yet, but this party is something of a farewell for the U.S. troops who have been overseeing the progress in the city and it’s a nice note for them to go home on.

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