"... the agony of Iraq mirrors a wider Arab pattern of state mismanagement and mediocrity. Recent decades leave no doubt that the major modern Arab political problem is that entire countries are managed like private clubs by individual families. Such personalized states do not function efficiently or serve their people well, which ultimately leads to their fragmentation or total collapse.
This frightening, decadesold pattern continues to this day. Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Palestine, Sudan, Egypt, Somalia and Bahrain have all suffered debilitating civil conflicts, often coupled with fragmentation or collapse. The oil-rich Gulf states have avoided major political violence mainly because they have avoided anything that looks like political rights and activity among their citizens.
The situation in Iraq is the most agonizing, because it captures the tragic and combined failures of successive regimes that transformed what should have been a showcase of modern Arab development into a poster child for dictatorship, corruption, sectarianism, violence, mismanagement and likely breakup, as the Kurdish northern region steadily spins off into de facto independence. Iraq particularly mishandled the opportunity after the Anglo-American invasion of 2003 to redefine itself on the basis of a homegrown national consensus, especially after 2008-09, when a semblance of stability reigned and the foreign invaders were on their way home." Rami Khouri