South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Rajan Menon writes for the National Interest on why US assistance will not be able to save Iraq which is now divided into three parts:
Last week, the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS), having already overrun large parts of Sunni-majority Anbar province in the west, swept north into Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and capital of Ninawa province.The movement’s advance offers additional proof that Iraq no longer exists as a coherent polity and cohesive country.
In reality, what now passes for “Iraq” is three polities contained within boundaries that Britain drew after the Ottoman Empire’s collapse in the wake of World War I. The first of these entities is the Kurdistan Regional Government in the north. The second is a violence-ravaged Sunni-majority statelet-in-the-making in the center and west. The ISIS, bolstered by the strategic depth offered by adjoining areas held by anti-Assad Sunni militants, is fast establishing dominion there. The third is an Iraqi central government that claims sovereignty over the entire country, but in reality represents the Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and the Shiite expanses extending south and southeast from the capital. Such power as it wields in the rest of the country has been tenuous at best and is becoming more so because of the ISIS juggernaut.