Efforts are being made by the government to calm the two sides involved to avoid further bloodshed as well as mitigate repercussions from the violence on relations with countries both near and far, to avoid a halt in investment and any worsening of the country’s already dire economic situation.

Amid signs that incidents between rival Shiite militias may be underreported, multiple meetings have been held with US and other officials, while some note that the country simply cannot afford the economic impact of continued unrest.

Defense Industries Commission chief Mohammed Sahib Al-Daraji told Al-Monitor, “Of course, if the situation continues,” then “no new investment will be attracted to the country because of the lack of stability — the lack of law.”

Some of the worst violence in many years in the country started on Aug. 29 and continued into the following day until an order arrived from powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to all of his followers to withdraw from the heavily fortified area of central Baghdad containing many government buildings and embassies.