Los Angeles Times: BAGHDAD — They are the orphans of Iraqi history, grown up and remaking the country’s political and social order. But the formidable alliance between the long-marginalized Shiite Muslims and Kurds, a union nurtured by Washington, now threatens to undermine U.S. goals in the new Iraq.

The aim of U.S. policymakers has been a united Iraqi state with secular leanings in which the Kurds, who have been strong American allies, would promote a government aligned with the West. Instead, the Kurds appear poised to accept alliances that guarantee them a secular state in Kurdistan in exchange for their acceptance of a more religious order in the rest of Iraq. story

The rebuilding of Iraq was hobbled and mismanaged from the get-go, according to an official history of the program leaked to the New York Times. | story

Meanwhile, a mass exodus of Iraq’s professional, educated class is resulting in a brain drain, just when the country needs its thinkers most. | story

Also, an influential cleric who has led uprisings against the U.S. says that his militia would defend Iran if it was attacked. | story

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