Best Defense

A bolt of Iraq warning from a clear Sky

Surprised by that killing of more than 50 hostages in Tikrit yesterday? Don’t be, advises General Odierno’s former political advisor, Lady Emma Sky. She offers a good overview of Iraq since the surge in the new issue of Foreign Affairs. The danger, she worries, is the United States walking away too quickly. "The large and ...

MUJAHED MOHAMMED/AFP/Getty Images
MUJAHED MOHAMMED/AFP/Getty Images

Surprised by that killing of more than 50 hostages in Tikrit yesterday? Don’t be, advises General Odierno’s former political advisor, Lady Emma Sky. She offers a good overview of Iraq since the surge in the new issue of Foreign Affairs. The danger, she worries, is the United States walking away too quickly.

"The large and unwieldy coalition assembled by Maliki," she warns near the end, "will have difficulty grappling with politically sensitive issues, such as federalism, the sharing of oil revenues, and the demarcation of internal borders. True reconciliation among Iraq’s ethnic and religious groups thus remains elusive, and what progress has been achieved so far could unravel."

If Washington doesn’t remains engaged and supportive, she concludes, "there is a risk that Iraq’s different groups may revert to violence to achieve their goals and that the Iraqi government may become increasingly authoritarian rather than democratic."

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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