Sunday, August 24, 2014

Truest statement of the week II

Nouri al-Maliki may have agreed to step down as prime minister of Iraq this month, but the damage he has wrought will define his country for decades to come. The stunning collapse of the Iraqi state in its vast northern and western provinces may be al-Maliki’s most significant legacy. After nine decades as the capital of a unitary, centralized state, Baghdad no longer rules Kurdistan, nor Fallujah, nor Mosul, and might never rule them again.
To his likely successor, Haider al-Abadi, al-Maliki will bequeath an Iraqi state that has reverted to the authoritarian muscle memory it developed under Saddam Hussein. But it will be a state that effectively controls not much more than half the territory Saddam did.
As al-Maliki and his loyalists succeeded in consolidating control of the government and pushing rivals out of power, they drove the constituencies of those they excluded -- especially Sunni Arabs and Kurds --  into political opposition or armed insurrection. Their drive for power alienated Iraqis across all communities from the central state whose wards and clients they had once been, leaving almost no provincial population trustful of the central government.

-- Dallas Morning News' editorial board, "The coming disintegration of Iraq" (Dallas Morning News).

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