By Pepe Escobar
".....This country is no more. This is an ex-country. It has gone to meet its maker (the Sumerians, presumably). The "surge" is a public relations-created illusion - as ghostly as those abandoned, burned out Iraqi tanks littering Baghdad's empty, dirty boulevards in April 2003; after all there was no war to speak of, the Iraqi army having preferred to flee.
The Turkish army, for its part, has just proved its point; Ankara can invade Iraqi Kurdistan any time it sees fit - as if it was Gaza. And this is nothing compared to what may happen after the endlessly postponed Kirkuk referendum, when Iraqi Kurds will finally have full control over their oil wealth and rekindle their independentist dreams. If East Timor and Kosovo can do it, why not us?
Muqtada has - literally - vanished, after lamenting an Iraq "characterized by social turmoil". He disappeared just like the 12th Imam, Imam Mahdi - and that's a really huge thing for pious Iraqi Shi'ites, not to mention a masterful political ploy. Muqtada has transferred to the US Marines the task of carrying a pogrom of the Mahdi Army. He's aiming at the polls - he wants the Sadrists to take over the Shi'ite provincial governments in the south in the next election. Sooner or later "anti-American" occult Muqtada will be the lord of what remains of Iraq - and there's nothing Washington can do about it......"