A critical reason nation building in Iraq was doomed to fail is easily seen in a History of Kurdistan.

In the aftermath of World War I, allies drew borders paying no attention to cultural boundaries, assigning Kurdish areas to the new British and French mandated states of Iraq and Syria.

Lovely. So if you do not want to blame Bush, then blame the British.

Regardless of who you blame, here is the reality at the moment: Kurdish forces step into security void in disputed Kirkuk

Beaming Kurdish fighters were dropped by the busload on the outskirts of Kirkuk on Thursday, eager to defend a city they say is on its way to becoming part of their autonomous region after the Iraqi army left.

“The Iraqi army didn’t argue, they didn’t fight. They left behind their weapons. They didn’t even take their uniforms,” said Tayeb Younis, a young member of the peshmerga, the autonomous Kurdish region’s forces. “We are thrilled – this is a first step to [the city] becoming part of the Kurdish Regional Government.”

The sudden withdrawal of the central government’s army from Kirkuk is another sign of how quickly Iraq could break up into separate sectarian territories of Shia, Sunni Arabs and Kurds. Since militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as Isis) seized Mosul on Tuesday, they have advanced to take control of an area that amounts to more than 10 per cent of the country.

“The army has collapsed … it is our right to defend this area,” said Rawan Mullah Mahmoud, deputy head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party in Kirkuk province. “Iraq has entered a dangerous period and this situation could last a year, at least.”

The Iraqi army base, the largest in Kirkuk province, had billions of dollars in weapons and equipment, locals say.

“About 500 armoured vehicles have been stolen and another 200 were burnt inside,” said Mr Younes, the peshmerga fighter, watching the looting frenzy nearby. “We cannot stop it because we don’t want to seem like we support the [Iraqi] army, but this could cause problems with the other communities here,” he said, referring to the Arab and Turkmen populations.

But with Isis moving so quickly, one Arab shopkeeper, Hisham Hashem, said he would accept whoever could keep the streets outside his empty store quiet. “At this point it does not matter to me who takes control, whether it’s the army or the peshmerga,” he said.

Hussein Had Control

Recall that Saddam Hussein had control. Now shopkeepers beg for “anyone” to take control.

Unfortunately, no one is in control as Iraq Splinters Into Pieces.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock