How Maliki Lost Iraq

The Slow Motion Collapse of a Sectarian Truce

Courtesy Reuters

In some sense, Iraq's present security crisis was unexpected. In early June, a relatively small group of terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) seemed to suddenly launch an offensive against Iraqi government forces in Sunni-majority areas of northwestern Iraq. The Iraqi military and police then quickly abandoned their posts, essentially ceding control of the area to ISIS and setting the stage for a battle over Baghdad.

In another sense, however, we are simply witnessing the bursting of a dam whose cracks have been visible for some time. ISIS may seem like it appeared out of nowhere, but the group’s onslaught was no surprise. The groundwork was laid a long time ago, and was evident for anyone who cared enough to notice.

In fact, it is Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who bears responsibility for the current debacle. His self-defeating security strategy in the Sunni-majority

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