This is a good opportunity to put down some markers on what’s going on in Iraq.
- There is no ready replacement for Maliki.
- Maliki is working from a very familiar Middle Eastern playbook and one that should be expected from any leader operating in a tribal society who maintains his power by doling out favors.
- Consequently, any substitute for Maliki won’t do anything much different.
- ISIS doesn’t negotiate. They might delay but they won’t negotiate.
- They’ve been more effective at governing in Syria than has been suggested in the American media. They’ll probably do the same things in Iraq as they have in Syria.