The unprecedented protests in Iraq underline the reality that Iraq is slowly failing as a state. Fundamental change is needed: to the nature of party politics, endemic corruption, undue influence by foreign-backed militias, and elections that are at best rigged but are increasingly outright stolen. In private, almost none of my senior Iraqi political contacts bothers to refute any of the above facts. These issues are also crystal clear to U.S. policy-makers on Iraq, but they are less sure about the U.S. role in what comes next.
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