Record U.S. fatalities there last month highlight the need for more troops, but reserves are few.
As 'surge' brigades leave Iraq, military officials hope the improved security will hold.
The evidence is seen in late-afternoon strolls in the park, meetings with long-missed friends, relief over an improved economy.
Recent events suggest both Tehran and Washington may be willing to engage in dialogue.
Top US commander in Iraq said Thursday he is likely to recommend further drawdowns before leaving his post in the fall.
Britain and the Netherlands agree to longer tours, delaying a bigger US role in the mission.