Re-Thinking Iraq, Ctd.

Larison remains a pessimist:

None of the fissures in the Iraqi state has been healed. They have merely been covered over, and they will likely be exposed as Iraq experiences the woes of the global recession and declining oil revenues. Above all, Iraq is a petro-state whose political and economic stability depends on revenues from natural resource extraction and exporting, and the internal problems that Venezuela, Iran and others are facing as their oil revenues evaporate apply to Iraq as well. The temptation to become more authoritarian in a petro-state when its revenues are falling is strong, and there is nothing in modern Iraqi history that suggests that populist authoritarianism will not prevail there as it has in other democratized petro-states. In other words, even if Iraqi democracy survives all of the dangers listed above there is not much reason to believe that this will lead to good government.