Iraq's nascent democracy is growing strong roots. In three nationwide elections and one constitutional referendum since 2005, Iraqis have repeatedly embraced the ballot box with enormous conviction, consistently rejecting disorder and despotism and choosing the forces of secularism and national unity. Violence in Iraq may continue for some time but Iraqis, from the political leadership to ordinary citizens, have proven that the important political questions in their country are decided in parliament and in the voting booth.

Of course, Iraq's ultimate success faces many serious economic and political risks. The extraordinary security gains achieved to date are likely to be challenged at times in parts of the country. Iraq's political landscape can be fractious and hard to predict. Many legal and regulatory frameworks are untested. The long-term relationship of the Kurdistan Region to the rest of Iraq remains uncertain. Iraq continues to face moments of violence, ongoing sectarian tensions, and outside interference. NGP's strategy is not predicated on a best-case scenario for Iraq; rather, it is designed to be successful in conditions similar to or worse than those the country faces today. Any improvement on today's conditions represents an additional benefit.