Thanks for the views ANC
I agree that there are quite a few possible scenarii but I find it interesting precisely to discuss them at this stage, as opposed to the cockfights that invariably take place as events develop.
You listed peace, civil war, democracy, anarchy as possible outcomes.
I will be more selective.
Iraq as a single united nation has ceased to exist in 2003. For the outside world, and as long as occupation forces will hold the upper hand, Iraq is still what they see in a World Atlas.
Demonstration has been done again today that the three main components inhabiting the land cannot or even do not want to reach any kind of compromise, and the differences are not of a theatrical or technical nature but really essential.
It is "me and mine" against "you and yours", where any sense of Iraqi nationalism is totally absent and the national flag is cut to make handkerchiefs.
A peaceful conclusion IMO would not even make it as an attraction in Neverland.
Democracy in the sense that Iraq as a whole would embrace a democratic system is not even within reach of a good science-fiction novelist.
It has been (of course) used as a nice concept by the President and his associated brains, it always pleases the (genuinely goodwilling) public, but "bring them democracy in the bags of our boys" is something that may work in Hollywood, not in the Middle East. They do not want democracy !
Is it so difficult to understand ? for many obviously yes.
Anarchy is a no go. All three components have their leaders, militias and followers and with a few exceptions, their areas of dominance are well established.
Civil war ? in the context of a single nation (before 2003) it could be qualified as such.
In the context of a land partitioned in three areas of influence we will assist to the Balkanisation
(parcelling out) of what was once Iraq.
How will this happen is open for grabs, but in all likelihood it will be at the expense of a lot of lives, that is until at least two of the three leaders have achieved their targets or cannot reasonably gain anything anymore.
Under the auspices of the UN, the parties will agree to disagree on everything they always were in disagreement anyway, everyone will choose its system, anthem, flag, and Iraq will be a thing of the past.
The Kurdistan, with some pressure and help from the US, will perhaps become a nicer neighbour to Turkey.
The Islamic Republic of Southern Iraq will copy Tehran.
The Central Iraqi Republic will be either infeodated to its stronger southern neighbour or simply be crushed.
If this was the hidden aim of Bush and co. (starting the Balkanisation of the Middle East), I would say hats off gentlemen, here are people who had a long term strategic view on for the region, they knew they had many a terrible obstacle to pass, including fighting half their public opinion, still they undertook the arduous enterprise.
If it was not, Mr Bush will go down in history as a moralist faced with an insoluble moral dilemna and he will take refuge in fantasy.