After years of war, relative peace is coming to much of Iraq not through parliamentary democracy but by tribal and religious leaders cutting deals between themselves and with the Americans. Parliament itself remains ineffective, rarely sitting with the Sunni and Shia politicians polarised and sectarian. At the grass-roots, the Shia militia are expected to extend their current ceasefire and tribal Sunni leaders have persuaded many of their fighters to lay down their arms. The testing ground right now is Diyala province — one of Iraq’s smallest with just over a million people — where Sunni insurgents are fighting among themselves. Diyala could well decide the fate of Iraq — whether violence will spread again or whether the fighters will opt for a peaceful way ahead. If peace does come — with elections almost two years away — it will be delivered by deal-making real politik and not through the power of parliament.