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Iraq’s Politics, Iraq’s Problem

DENVER – The narrative of contemporary Iraq is becoming etched in stone: United States troops are leaving, and the country is falling apart. Iraq, we are told, is once again on the brink of dictatorship, this time under the Shia politician Nuri al-Maliki, who has been prime minister since 2006.

The notion that Iraq’s ongoing political problems were caused by America’s departure, or that they could be improved by its return, is something that only a solipsistic American could believe. In fact, not everything that happens in Iraq reflects the presence – or absence – of US troops.