CNN quotes Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Ramzy Mardini on the likelihood of Iraq splitting into three parts:

Ramzy Mardini, an Iraq expert at the Atlantic Council, says: “The basic equation is this: ISIS provokes Shiites, Shiites overreact and generalize their response against Sunnis, and more Sunnis come to support ISIS. It’s a vicious circle, with each cycle hardening the sectarian divide.”

For that reason, the chances of a negotiated separation have evaporated.

“Biden often saw Iraq through the lens of the former Yugoslavia, [but] borders can’t come from pencil and paper,” Mardini told CNN. “It would have to come out of ethnic war.”

“Iraq is a state that has always been governed under authoritarian rule. Assuming it can suddenly pivot to a federal, democratic system is naive, not only about the history of Iraq, but about the political system of federalism in general. Federalism is a complicated and sophisticated framework.”

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