How This Ends


In a word: badly. Musings on Iraq summarizes the conclusion of a report by Michael Eisenstadt and Ahmed Ali of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy:

Eisenstadt and Ali finish by saying that reconciliation in Iraq will take years, and may never occur in a meaningful fashion. The problems are large and many. First, the major Iraqi political parties are based upon ethnosectarian politics, and could lose power if they give that up. Second, there is still fighting in Iraq, and a World Bank study on conflicts found that almost 50% of countries coming out of civil wars fall back into them within five years.
Third, there is little consensus in Baghdad on major issues such as oil, and politics are fragmented, which makes it hard to conduct negotiations or find partners. Fourth, there is a lack of accountability as many militants are involved in politics and security with no regret for their past deeds. Fifth, many conflicts and fighting took place within communities, not just between them, which has never been resolved. Sixth, many groups still talk about revenge, and see things in zero-sum terms. Seventh Iraq has been in the throes of elections since 2008, which makes compromising more difficult. Last, Iraq’s neighbors have all interfered in its internal affairs, and continue to do so to this day such as Iran. These problems may never be overcome, which is why the authors are so pessimistic about the country’s future. Iraq’s government will continue, but without resolving some of these large and pressing concerns, it’s unlikely that major changes or legislation will be implemented, which are a necessity to pull the country out of its current predicament.

It is ungovernable and will be run by some kind of dictator within a decade. This much any fool or casual reader of history could tell you. And for the record, by endorsing this invasion, I was a fool and not even a casual enough reader of history. As long as we get out cleanly, it won't be so bad. But we won't - Obama will see to it that we are there for as long as he is president. I mean: that's why we elected him, right?

(Photo: Jewel Samad/Getty.)