Colonel Macgregor sums up the state of the Iraq War

Iraq est omnis divisa in partes tres … (All Gaul is divided into three parts)
     Opening line of Fabius Maximus’ Commentaries on the Iraq War  (2011)

Words about the war well worth reading:  “Iraq realities – Part 2“, Douglas Macgregor (Colonel, US Army, retired; see bio below), UPI, 30 June 2008 — Opening:

The suppression of violence and the reduction in U.S. casualties in Iraq over the past year and a half was not U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker’s or U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus’ accomplishment. It was achieved by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Even worse, the much celebrated “cash for cooperation policy” implemented by Petraeus in the spring of 2007, which currently pays 90,000 of Iraq’s Sunni Arab insurgents nearly $300 million a year not to shoot at U.S. forces, is simply the latest chapter in a sad history of reinforcing Iranian strategic dominance by hardening the division of Arab Iraq into Sunni and Shiite states.

It takes little imagination to see that Petraeus and Crocker are presiding over the division of Iraq into a small, impoverished Sunni area, a large, potentially oil-rich Kurdistan and an equally oil-rich Shiite-dominated state encompassing nine of Iraq’s largest provinces. This is a strategic outcome that will dramatically extend Iran’s influence inside Iraq and across the Middle East.

Background of the author:  Douglas Macgregor is a former U.S. Army colonel and a decorated Gulf War combat veteran. He has authored three books on modern warfare and military reform.  He writes here for the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information in Washington.  Here is “Iraq realities — Part 1“.

IMO this these are the two key aspects of the war.  Iran is the big winner, now a major player in the affairs of Iraq.  And Iraq is fragmenting.  Controversial when I first proposed it in March 2007, and even when more fully described in September 2007  (see this thread at the Small Wars Council), by now it should be obvious to everyone — but is inexplicably not so.

Here’s a summary of the dynamics and significance of Iraq’s fragmentation, from my September post.

  1. Iraq is fragmenting into three parts.
  2. Development of local, armed “governments” drives this process.  Ethnic cleansing is their major tool.  This is a road to peace for Iraq, perhaps the only path still open.
  3. It’s not about us. The Coalition has been and probably will be irrelevant to nation-building in Iraq.
  4. More fighting lies in Iraq’s future, mostly battles for control of the new proto-states and border wars. Hopefully this means less killing. The last two sections of this paper discuss what this means for America.
  5. Recommendations for our Expedition to Iraq
  6. What does this tell us about our Long War?

Let’s examine each in of these in turn.

1. Iraq is fragmenting into three parts.

Throughout Iraq local elites are creating regimes. Supported by militias which run the gamut from criminal gangs to formal armies, they fill the vacuum left by the collapse of Iraq’s central state.

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