Impregnable Iraq

The biggest danger democratic Iraq ever faced was a military coup. Now that the Americans are back in Iraq - even in very small numbers - that threat should have abated. I would congratulate the Iraqis on managing to maintain that no-coup situation for more than 2 years. That was an interesting data point.

The small numbers of US forces in Iraq at the moment is similar to the situation that existed in Afghanistan where a small number of US special forces were able to assist the Northern Alliance to a stunning victory.

ISIS seems to have been successful by getting some disgruntled Sunnis to stand up and assist them, and Sunni soldiers being unwilling to fight fellow Sunnis. They aren't going to have the same success in the Shiite areas, especially not with US backing.

Sadr's Mahdi Army was a major concern as well. It is very unusual for a democratic country to have a 100,000-strong militia under independent control. Again it is fortunate that the Americans are back in town to prevent them from staging a coup.

The Iraqi experiment has been a fascinating success story, and I am keen to watch how the rest of the drama plays out.

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