Who Will Win in Iraq?

(New York Times) Steven Simon - Rather like what happened in Syria, the Sunni offensive is likely to spur a transformation of the Iraqi Army from the sorry mess it is now into a more resilient and operationally effective force. In Syria, the army reeled in the face of the rebellion in 2011; desertions were rife and large sections of territory were lost to the insurgency. But as incompetent commanders were killed or relieved and a new leadership emerged, the army was able to bring its vastly greater firepower to bear on an increasingly fractionated adversary. Its combat capability was multiplied by the successful integration of civilian militias and the intelligence and tactical advice supplied by Iran. This trajectory is likely to be replicated in Iraq. In short, despite the rapid success of the Sunni campaign, it is a kamikaze attack that will make the Shiite hold on the Iraqi state stronger, not weaker. Moreover, Iraq, like the Assad regime in Syria, will be ever more in thrall to Iran. The writer was the senior director for the Middle East and North Africa at the U.S. National Security Council from 2011 to 2012.

2014-06-19 00:00:00

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