I’m going to watch this thread with a great deal of interest - and here’s why…
Iraq, it appears to me, resembles nothing quite so much as the former Soviet Union as anything else - a region of simmering ethnic competing interests held together by the brute force of a totalitarian regime. After the Soviet Union unravelled, a truckload of previously unforeseen troubles also manifested themselves too. And indeed, there was an attempted coup in the early 90’s to unseat Gorbachev if memory serves me correctly as well.
My greatest fear is this - just like North Vietnam, which essentially was callously exploited by China to fight a proxy war against the Americans (certainly the Chinese aided the North Vietnamese immeasurably) - I fear that Iraq will prove to be a “rallying cry” for the Islamic World against the blatant oppression of the heathen “Christian Crusading West” (blah blah blah).
I have grave fears that a truckload of the Arabian countries nearby will aid and abet a counter insurgency war against the Americans just like the Chinese did with the North Vietnamese. It won’t matter a gnat’s whisker what the local Iraqi population want, or prefer. If thousands of indistinguishable militia are flooding the borders to fight the Crusaders on Iraqi soil, it’s going to be a dreadful place to be if you’re a member of the Western armed forces.
I suspect some awful sniper fests going down for a long time sadly.
And I’m unconvinced the West is prepared to throw the numbers necessary to quell that sort of geurilla warfare. To do it right means TOTALLY shutting down all of Iraq’s borders - and to give you an idea of what’s involved… Hitler had to commit 300,000 troops to Norway for the entire duration of WWII just to secure the iron ore port of Narvik. And even then, those troops suffered consistent losses throughout the length of the war.
Once again, I maintain that the USA has missed an incredible strategic opportunity. If the USA had made stirling positive overtures to Iran all this time, there is a significant possibility the Iranian’s would have offered their assistance in this matter - which would have sent all sorts of conflicting signals to the Arabian region. Every bit of airwave static I pick up seems to say that there’s one awful lot of unfinished business between the Iraqis and the Iranians.