Amid Growing Violence, Is Iraq a Failed State?
Pervasive violence through recent months has some analysts wondering if Iraq is a failed state. “Six months after the U.S. military left Iraq,” wrote Lara Jakes and Kay Johnson of the Associated Press, “dire predictions seem to be coming true: The country is mired in violence and the government is on the verge of collapsing.” This assessment comes just days before a car bomb in Diwaniya killed at least 40 people and wounded 75 others. June has been one of the most violent months since U.S. withdrawal, and many fear escalating sectarian violence. Iraq’s political situation deteriorated shortly after U.S. forces left, and internal divisions have grown steadily since. “The state is almost paralyzed and dysfunctional due to political feuds. In such circumstances, the security forces also will be paralyzed and the insurgents groups are making use of this chaos,” Haider al-Saadi, the Shiite owner of an Internet cafe in eastern Baghdad, said Saturday.
Meanwhile, Walter Pincus wrote that Iraq’s transition is raising “thorny and expensive questions,” as policymakers in Washington met June 31 to discuss U.S. interests in Iraq. Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security, homeland defense and foreign operations expressed concerns over Iraq’s security situation as the U.S. is poised to make significant aid commitments in the country. Others questioned the wisdom of U.S. aid. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) noted that the Government Accountability Office reported that Iraq has accumulated a budget surplus of over $50 billion. Chaffetz asked, “Why are we pouring a lot of money into Iraq when their . . . budget is certainly in better shape than ours?”