The past few weeks of events in Iraq have been both personally and professionally depressing. The fall of Tal Afar was personally depressing because I spent a year in that area back in 2006-2007 living with and serving alongside an Iraqi battalion as an army reservist on a military transition team in a base along the Mosul-Sinjar highway. I got to know many Iraqi soldiers, particularly Shiite Arabs from the southern part of the country and Kurds from the northeast.
Professionally, the situation is depressing because things have fallen apart in the country and the consequences of any particular number of courses of action portend poorly for the multiethnic peoples of Iraq and numerous other countries in the region. George R.R. Martin could not write a more complicated “game of thrones” than what is unfolding now.
Michael P. Noonan, a WOTR contributor, is Director of Research at the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute and an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran.
Image: Søren Niedziella, CC