Fred and Kim Kagan write:

Even after the last U.S. soldier departs, America’s core interests in Iraq include:

●Ensuring that Iraq contributes to the security of the Middle East, rather than undermining it through state collapse, civil war or the establishment of a sectarian dictatorship;

●Ensuring that terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda or backed by Iran cannot establish sanctuaries;

●Promoting an Iraq that abides by its international responsibilities;

●Containing Iranian influences that are harmful to U.S. interests in Iraq and the region; and

●Signaling U.S. commitment to the region at a pivotal moment in history.

Securing these and other U.S. interests requires two basic conditions: First, Iraq must be able to control, police and defend its territory, airspace and waters. Second, Iraq must preserve and solidify the multi-ethnic and cross-sectarian political accommodation that was established in 2008 and 2009 but that has been eroding since the formation of the current government.

Neither condition is likely to be met in the coming years.

Whole thing here.

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