A militant group that includes al Qaeda in Iraq announced yesterday it had established an Islamic state in Iraq.After much blood is shed, the future Iraq may very well go the way of the former Soviet Union, breaking up into federal states of sorts. Whether such separate countries adopt democracy as their form of government is a huge question mark, as is whether or not they coexist in the region peacefully, and also resist any efforts to tolerate terrorist activity within their borders.
The claim, released in a videotape, was immediately discounted by Iraq's parliament speaker.
The Mujahedeen Shura Council – an umbrella organisation of insurgent groups in Iraq – said in the video that the new state was made up of six provinces including Baghdad that have large Sunni populations and parts of two other provinces south of the capital that are predominantly Shi'ite.
The savage Sunni Arab and al Qaeda insurgency that first shoved Iraq toward chaos three years ago clearly had taken a back seat yesterday to the growing sectarian bloodletting that is now ravaging the country in its spiral toward – if not deeper into – civil war.
American analysts such as Anthony H Cordesman, of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, and Dennis Ross, a Mid-East peace negotiator, say major policy changes are necessary.
"Iraq is already in a state of serious civil war. The current efforts at political compromise and improved security at best are buying time. There is a critical risk that Iraq will drift into a major civil conflict over the coming months, see its present government fail, and/or divide and separate in some form," Mr Cordesman wrote last week.
Whatever happened to Colin Powell's "you break it, you bought it" truism?