POLITICAL MELTDOWN IN IRAQ….After the Sunni parties withdrew from the Iraqi government earlier this month, President Jalal Talabani called an emergency political summit that was widely viewed as the last chance to maintain even a semblance of political comity between Shiites and Sunnis. Marc Lynch reports that it didn’t work:

Al-Arabiya is reporting that the emergency political summit of Iraq’s leaders has failed to produce even nominal political reconciliation. This is a devastating outcome for the Maliki government and for those Americans who hoped to have some political progress to show in the upcoming Crocker/Petraeus report. There’s no other way to spin this: this summit was billed as the last chance, and it has failed.

….I thought there was at least a chance that they would cobble something together out of desperation and find ways to lure the Sunni parties back in….They did not. Instead, Talabani announced the formation of a new four party coalition in support of the current government without any Sunni representation. What’s left is a government stripped to its sectarian base — the two Kurdish parties and the two major Shia parties — and a world of political hurt.

Italics mine. On a related subject, more here on the Shia takeover of the Iraqi army. It’s not exactly news or anything, just further confirmation of the obvious: the eventual fate of Iraq (outside the Kurdish north) is the establishment of a Shia theocracy closely aligned with Iran. As far as I can tell, no one has even a colorable argument that things are moving in any other direction, and equally, no colorable argument that there’s anything we can do to stop it. Maliki is using the U.S. military brass as useful idiots to fight his battles for him, and George Bush is his Useful Idiot in Chief.

And don’t forget: every single major Republican candidate for president wants to continue our useful idiot role. They’re practically duelling each other to see who can be the most fatuously naive about foreign policy. Quite a spectacle, no?

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