On June 10, just as Sunni militants captured Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul, Brookings senior fellow Matthew Pollack detailed the political moves it would take to pull Iraq back from the brink of full-blown civil war.
He argued that the U.S. should provide substantial military support to Iraq’s military only if Shi’ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Iraq’s leading politicians “agree to settle the deep sectarian conflicts that have brought the country to its present plight.”
President Barack Obama echoed the argument a few days later when he said any American military in Iraq “has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences.”
Pollack concluded that the difficult steps probably would not be taken, partly because “Baghdad may refuse to surrender its iron grip over the political system.”
He predicted that outside a significant influx of military assistance, “the fighting will probably continue for years and hundreds of thousands will die.”
President Obama has beefed up security around U.S. assets in Iraq, and has not yet made a decision on any potential military action.
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