The Daily Kos has some thoughts:
The US war against Saddam may soon be over, but that may only be the start of the Iraq war. There are millions of guns, rockets and mortars, billions of rounds of ammo, scattered across the country. No one knows who controls them or what they have planned. The Shia want control of their destiny, as do the Kurds, and the Sunnis may not be happy to lose power.
Let’s say we fully control Baghdad in the next week or so and the rest of the cities in the next month. What Iraqi government official surrenders? Who runs things? Do we just slide from Saddam rule to American rule?
We have set up clear political goals, remove Saddam, establish democracy, but the problem is that we have no power base to work with.
Kamiya and his fellow liberals in the INC have no power. They say nice things, but they are largely strangers in Iraq. Saddam killed anyone who could be considered opposition, except for the hardest of the hard core clerics and guerrillas. The tribal leaders have been courted, bribed, threatened and have limited power. The Baathists, tainted by their connection to Saddam, still control the levers of government.
Tom Friedman suggested that Iraq was either an Arab Switzerland or an Arab Yugoslavia. I would suggest a third alternative: an Arab Congo.
An enemdically corrupt country barely held together by the most brutal means imaginable. When the levers of power are removed, various factions then turn on each other in bloody combat.
What is amazing is that the US has no clear supporters. No oligarchs, no Catholic refugees. Anyone we arm in Iraq today could kill Americans tomorrow. There is no one group which has any reason to align with the US.
It ain’t over ’til it’s over. And this one’s barely begun.