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Guess who said this: ‘I’ve got to help him learn how to run his country.’ George W Bush. Yep, so confusing was the fallout from the Iraq War that Dubya momentarily lost himself, and thought he was in a position to give advice on statesmanship to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. It was par for the course. As Sunni factions attacked Shia factions, and everyone blamed al-Qaeda, thousands of civilians died, with the Western powers apparently bereft of ideas. More troops or fewer troops? Air strikes or no air strikes?
‘As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down,’ said Bush, gnomically, in both senses of the word. There are no conclusions here. This superlative series ends in April this year, with renewed factional in-fighting. One thing is clear, though: in its naïve, US-led, insistence upon a ‘victory’, the coalition no only demonstrated its weakness through its lack of understanding of the situation, but effectively ensured there would never be one.