An Arabic-speaking U.S. reporter in Iraq talks about the possible collapse of the country, and urges American policymakers to make friendly overtures toward Iran.


Foreign Policy:

FOREIGN POLICY: What does the current stalemate over the appointment of a prime minister say about the political process in Iraq, and whether the tensions on the ground can be discussed and eased at a political level?

Nir Rosen: I think it shows just once more that events inside the Green Zone have really no relation to what happens on the street in Iraq. They are bickering among themselves about how to create a government. But outside the Green Zone, they wouldn’t last a minute, not one of these leaders, they would immediately be killed. Events inside the zone have been a big theater: What it does show is that they can’t even cooperate at a political level. Meanwhile, their militias are already fighting each other, whether they are Kurdish, Shia, or Sunni. It shows there is no hope of any political rapprochement. Not that that would have an impact on the ground, because on the ground it is the militia leaders who are in charge. Every neighborhood has its own little army, every mosque has its own little army, that’s where the power lies in Iraq, with the guys with the guns on the street.

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