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Kurdish flags fly over Kirkuk as Iraq stands on the verge of disintegration

Iraq’s slow disintegration as a unitary nation was something of an inevitability in the aftermath of the illegal US-UK invasion of 2003.

The plan to divide and pacify Iraq largely failed in respect of pacification, yet old divisions that were blown open by the invasion have largely succeeded in defining contemporary Iraq.

Iraq’s government and military is largely dominated by Shi’a Muslims and Shi’s militias, many of whom have an affinity towards Iran, are on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda and similar groups.

Moderate Sunnis are increasingly marginalised in post Ba’athist Iraq and Iraq’s Christian community which lived a healthy existence under the Presidencies of both Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr and Saddam Huseein is now virtually non-existent.

Many Iraqi Christians fled to Syria after 2003 where the government of President Bashar al-Assad offered sanctuary for members of the regions most persecuted religious faith.

Ever since the 1990s, Iraqi Kurds attained an increasing measure of political autonomy in the northernmost regions of the country. Kurdish autonomy as well as calls for separatism have increased in the years since 2003, in spite of successive Iraqi governments condemning such calls.

READ MORE: The USSR and the Arabs: A chance for Arab Unity thrown away

Now, reports have surfaced showing that in the mixed Arab, Kudish, Turkmen city of Kirkuk has essentially been claimed by Kurdish forces as a Kurdish town in an Iraq whose unity is as fragile as it has ever been.

This has happened in spite of the fact that city lies outside the legally defined Kurdish Autonomous regions of northern Iraq.

Kurdish flags are presently flying alongside Iraqi flags at official buildings in the city.

It is looking increasingly unlikely that Iraq will be able to survive the long term future as anything resembling a united state. The borders of Iraq, drawn carelessly in the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 were held together by successive Ba’athist governments in 1963 and again between 1968 and 2003.

READ MORE: 5 ways the Middle East has been radically changed since 1990

The future for the country now looks bleak as sectarianism continues to shape Iraq’s increasingly Balkanised destiny.

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