Iraqis in the northeastern town of Baqouba protest the arrest of a member of the Sahwa, or Awakening movement (also known as the Sons of Iraq) and a Sunni Muslim member of the Provincial Council, in May. The Sahwa, or Sunni militias, joined U.S. troops in the fight against al-Qaida in Iraq in 2007. Now, members face tough times. STR/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption STR/AFP/Getty Images

A young Iraqi woman has the final touches done to her hair at a salon in central Baghdad. Many Iraqi women say the return of Western-style fashions is a sign of returning security and freedom after years of war and sectarian tensions. AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption AFP/Getty Images

An Iraqi man counts out Iraqi dinars at a money changer in central Baghdad in May. The Iraqi economy is hampered by red tape and corruption. Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images

Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, says the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq could begin 60 days after the country's national elections. Just before a midnight deadline Sunday, Iraq's parliament approved an election law that clears the way for elections early next year, probably in late February. Corey Flintoff/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Corey Flintoff/NPR

A U.S. Army mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, or MRAP, drives along a main road leading to the joint U.S.-Iraqi military base at Abara near the northeastern city of Baqouba, in August 2008. Ali Yussef/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Ali Yussef/AFP/Getty Images

Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraq's Sunni Arab vice president, speaks Wednesday during a press conference in Baghdad about the upcoming elections. Hashemi vetoed part of a key election law, throwing national polls slated for January and a planned U.S. troop drawdown into question. Karim Kadim/AP hide caption

toggle caption Karim Kadim/AP

Baghdad Island (shown here in June 2009) is a 150-acre Tigris River amusement park complex. It was a popular site for weddings and other celebrations before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, but it was devastated by looting in the aftermath. Now, U.S. and Iraqi officials have begun renovating the park. Karim Kadim/AP hide caption

toggle caption Karim Kadim/AP

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor