"Iraq as a political project is finished," a senior government official was quoted as saying, adding: "The parties have moved to plan B." He said that the Shia, Sunni and Kurdish parties were now looking at ways to divide Iraq between them and to decide the future of Baghdad, where there is a mixed population. "There is serious talk of Baghdad being divided into [Shia] east and [Sunni] west," he said.
Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, told The Independent in an interview, before joining Mr Maliki to fly to London and then Washington, that in theory the government should be able to solve the crisis because Shia, Kurd and Sunni were elected members of it.
But he painted a picture of a deeply divided administration in which senior Sunni members praised anti-government insurgents as "the heroic resistance".
If we had many visitors to this blog that were in favor of withdrawal ASAP, I would probably have been roasted many times over for continuing to advocate that we stay in Iraq. But it's coming to the point where our troops can't even secure peace in Baghdad and if that continues, there's really no point in staying anymore; we'd just be slowing down a war that apparently must be fought for Iraq to work itself out.
Peter Galbraith says in today's NY Times that if we're unwilling to do what it takes to keep Iraq together, then it's time to come home:
For the United States to contain the civil war, we would have to deploy more troops and accept a casualty rate many times the current level as our forces changed their mission from a support role to intensive police duties. The American people would not support such an expanded mission, and the Bush administration has no desire to undertake it.
The administration, then, must match its goals in Iraq to the resources it is prepared to deploy. Since it cannot unify Iraq or stop the civil war, it should work with the regions that have emerged. Where no purpose is served by a continuing military presence — in the Shiite south and in Baghdad — America and its allies should withdraw.
...Seeing as we cannot maintain the peace in Iraq, we have but one overriding interest there today — to keep Al Qaeda from creating a base from which it can plot attacks on the United States. Thus we need to have troops nearby prepared to re-engage in case the Sunni Arabs prove unable to provide for their own security against the foreign jihadists.
And so our grand plan of creating a "beachhead" of democracy in the Middle East (or really, securing influence and oil) comes down to this; a rapid-reaction force to hunt for terrorists in a country that didn't have any terrorists that threatened us before we invaded. What can I say? Sometimes you jack things up so bad that the best you can do is say "sorry", hang your head, and walk away.