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Iraq's Volatile Days Ahead44:34
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Iranians and Iraqis carry the coffin of Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, shown in the picture, one of Iraq's most powerful Shiite leaders, in a funeral ceremony in Tehran, Iran, on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009. Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim died Wednesday in Iran, the country that was long his powerful ally. (AP)
Iranians and Iraqis carry the coffin of Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, shown in the picture, one of Iraq's most powerful Shiite leaders, in a funeral ceremony in Tehran, Iran, on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009. Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim died Wednesday in Iran, the country that was long his powerful ally. (AP)

What will Iraq look like after the American troops are gone? After the hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars and the loss of thousands of lives of U.S. servicemembers, could Iran, and not the U.S., be the dominant influence in Iraq? Will security deteriorate?
These questions and more have been raised lately — after a massive bombing of two key ministries in downtown Baghdad, and with the number of Iraqi civilian deaths back up in August.
The initial American "democratic ideal" of Sunni-Shi’ite co-operation was always tricky. Now, in advance of next year’s elections, Iraqis themselves are asking what kind of country they want.
This Hour, On Point: Iraq without the "American friends" — in a dangerous neighborhood.
You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.Guests:

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill. He has been serving in Baghdad since April 2009. Prior to his posting in Iraq, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

David Ignatius, columnist and associate editor for The Washington Post. He is also co-moderator of the "Post Global" forum. His latest column on Iraq is called "Behind the Carnage in Baghdad."

Steven Lee Myers, Baghdad bureau chief for The New York Times. He has been covering the new challenges to the current Iraqi leadership.

This program aired on September 1, 2009.

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