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November 15, 2014


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I suppose I've been working under the assumptions that A) the Kurds were getting, in theory, a worse deal than they would have via the central government, but that B) there was some question as to whether the central government could not be trusted to pay on a timely basis, not piss it away in contravention of the deal (see Inability To Field An Army Despite Ample Funds), or otherwise make Kurdish autonomy/security non-viable.

It's crazy, isn't it? Kurdistan actually has a pretty sweet deal, but Baghdad can't be trusted to follow through. Moreover, as you point out, Baghdad can't be trusted to spend the money wisely.

The best analog I have for what happened to the Iraqi army under Maliki is the Cuban army under Batista. Even the ARVN held up better -- it took the tank columns of the NVA to finally take the latter down, not an ill-equipped guerrilla force.

Yeah, Andrew Reeves and I have discussed that previously. Batista might be a very apt comparison. Both Batista and Maliki seem to have interpreted previous victories as permanent ones, and allowed cronyism and graft to thrive in the face of what appeared to be a fatally weakened opponent, hollowing out their own base of support in the process.

A salient difference might be that anybody can pledge to become a Communist overnight, and the ideology can be universalist (some interpretations in the early Soviet Union not withstanding.) In the case of the revanchist Sunnis of ISIS, the treatment seems akin to an ethnic marker, and no rational Shi'ite in the south can expect a good outcome if ISIS gains or even persists.

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