Over the weekend, fighting left over a hundred dead (37 in Baghdad, 57 in Tal Afar near the Syrian border, the rest in various other areas.) Most of the violence was with Sunni Arabs, who are increasing their attacks, as is al Qaeda, in order to try and stop the elections to be held in January. Both al Qaeda and the Sunni Arab groups realize that once elections are held, they will face more retribution from a stronger Iraqi government.
The government has managed to provide enough police and army support to enable people in Shia areas to openly protest and criticize Muqtada al Sadr's militia. Al Sadr's men have carried on like gangsters, stealing, drinking and abusing local women. Arab journalists downplay or ignore this angle, and few Western journalists get close enough to cover this angle, and many anti-American Western journalists ignore the thug angle.