Challengers emerge to replace divisive Maliki. As I started reading I couldn't help but joke to myself that Chalabi should be one. Lo and behold: 

The names floated so far — Adel Abdul Mahdi, Ahmed Chalabi and Bayan Jaber — are from the Shiite blocs, which have the largest share of the total seats in the Parliament.

Unbelievable. It's like there's no difference between actual world news and the Onion.

- jim 6-20-2014 7:13 pm

something i listened to made it sound like the kurdish zone might eventually break off. what is the likelihood that it will splinter into three countries? will the sunni's never accept that because most of the oil is in the shiite controlled region?
- dave 6-20-2014 7:56 pm

Splitting into 3 zones has been floated for a long time. Sometimes called the "Biden" plan since Joe has been saying it since his 2006 NYT op-ed. I think Bruno called this as the final outcome on these pages in the early stages of the war (although I don't think he had the kurds in the mix at that early point - and I don't remember him advocating so much as just saying this would be the end result good or bad.)

I think there is a chance this will happen. It seems to follow a plan that at least some people in power in Israel and the US hold for the region. See Israeli journalist Oded Yinon's 1982 article or the later Project For A New American Century here in the US which both outline a plan to splinter Arab countries along ethnic and sectarian lines, or, in Yinon's words "into a mosaic of ethnic and confessional groupings that could be more easily manipulated."

The counter weight to this, I think, is the Iraqi people themselves who - at least before the war - were a very literate, cosmopolitan, ethnically mixed population. I think most Iraqis would like to see their country survive intact (there is polling on this but I don't have the time to dig it up.) Plus the most influential Shiite voice (Ali Sistani) has repeated called for the country to stay together and for the different sects to work out their problems peacefully.

So there are probably external forces (some in US, Israel, KSA) who would like to break up these Arab states (or Shiite states in the KSA case) and those forces may well get their way. But I think will of the Iraqi people is probably the stronger force here so I'd guess they have the stronger chance. 70-30? Just to put a number on it?

The other thing I wonder is that if a three way split is really in anyone's interest (especially the Neocons,) why didn't the US do it right after the war? Why now? (Well, I guess because Maliki has turned away from us towards Iran...)

Confusing stuff. Who knows?....

- jim 6-20-2014 8:24 pm

And then there is Turkey of course who REALLY doesn't want to see an independent Kurdistan (which would cause huge problems for them with their large kurdish population which wants its' own independence.) And Turkey is a pretty big regional player.

But this whole ISIS thing looks to have really strengthened the Kurds in Iraq. I don't see the ISF taking back Kirkuk.
- jim 6-20-2014 8:29 pm

You are right that the only people who want the Kurds to have a Kurdistan are the Kurds.

I'm still waiting for the majority that supported the invasion to say, "Holy shit, were we stupid! Next time we'll pay attention to those fine folks that opposed military adventurism."
- mark 6-20-2014 9:21 pm

My 70-30 is way too high. I'd like to revise to 90-10. But still, I don't think it's 99-1. There is a chance of a split.
- jim 6-20-2014 9:25 pm

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