Wonks see ‘failed states’ in Iraq, Syria

Ahead of next month's planned meeting between Syrian opposition groups and the government of Bashar al-Assad, Voice of America writes: "But already, there is a sense that the talks, advocated by the United States, are doomed to fail." Among those quoted is former CIA director James Woolsey, who told VOA: "I haven't seen any indication that the US has a coherent plan for dealing with failed states." Also quoted is Lahur Talabani, intelligence chief for Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government, who said: "There is no Syria or Iraq. With the arrival of [ISIS] in the region, they removed the borders that were put in place." 

We can imagine that KRG leaders are eager for the dissolution of Iraq, speeding their dream of actual independence. Woolsey's comment again reveals the Beltway division between neocons who are eager to see "failed states" to speed their hubristic ambition to balkanize the Middle East and paleocons who seek "stability" under dictators.

We are now told that Iraq's armed forces are fighting to retake Ramadi from ISIS, with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi boasting that Mosul will be liberated next. (Reuters) While the forces taking Ramadi are supposed to be US-trained Iraqi soldiers, Newsweek finds that the sectarian Shi'ite militia known as the Popular Mobilization Forces are actually spearheading the offensive.

We don't have a horse in the neocon-paleocon race. Fuck 'em both. But the Iraqi army, at least, seems to be largely fictional by now. And between ISIS and the KRG, the area controlled by Baghdad is less than half of Iraq's national territory.