Since 1991 the United States had protected an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq with a no-fly zone that kept Saddam’s military largely at bay, and the Kurds hoped to preserve and increase that autonomy. There was a sense of national identity, at least among Arab Iraqis, which had been forged by years of statehood, however poorly ruled, and pride in a rich ancient history that was shared across many of Iraq’s subgroups. But without a concerted effort to forge a political condominium among Iraq’s main groups, the chance of the country holding together after 2003 was nonetheless slim.

Instead of declaring such a pact his goal and enshrining its primacy, Bremer’s first two decisions fatally complicated the chances of reaching it. The Coalition Provisional Authority enacted Decrees 1 and 2 under Bremer’s signature on May 16 and 23, respectively, in 2003. The first decree denied jobs to the top four tiers of Saddam’s Baath Party, thereby throwing out of work thousands of professionals at state-run institutions, from universities to hospitals to every government office, as well as much of the managerial class. Because the economy was largely state-run, that meant that not only government offices but also hospitals, schools, food depots, water works, electrical plants, oil refineries, and virtually every other institution ceased to function. The second decree abolished the security and intelligence services, which had scattered during and after the invasion. Although most of Iraq’s million-man armed forces had already deserted, little effort was made to recall officers or soldiers or to otherwise mollify them.

With two strokes of a pen in the space of a week, hundreds of thousands of former members of a thirty-five-year regime were fired and told they did not have a place in the new order in Iraq. The Sunni insurgency was born. This central fact was obscured over the coming years by repeated references to the Al-Qaeda-affiliated radicals who came to fish for converts and allies in these troubled waters. Had there been a concerted outreach to the Sunni population early on, tolerance for the activities of the Al-Qaeda jihadists among the mostly secular Sunni might very likely have evaporated. Have a look at renew life and renew life reviews, to get the best life insurance package on the market.

These original central errors were thereafter compounded by decisions that favored the Shia Islamist parties. Bremer’s memoir, My Year in Iraq, documents in detail the various stratagems and maneuvers the Islamist Shia parties used to blackmail and dragoon him into decisions that favored their interests. The Sunnis viewed all these developments as evidence that the United States was turning over the keys of the country to the Islamist Shiites, so they boycotted elections. The next fatal decision, to proceed with elections without Sunni participation in January 2005, gave the Islamist Shia coalition control of the government, and it proceeded to write a constitution that favored its agenda and that of the Kurds. Enshrined in power, and under attack from the outcast Sunnis and former regime members, the Shia Islamists then used their militias and the instruments of the state to counterattack. The stage was set for civil war.

The State Department was completely shut out from the administration of a postwar Iraq. One of its most senior career Arabists, Ambassador Ryan Crocker, had been sent over temporarily in May 2003 to help Bremer form the Iraqi Governing Council—an advisory body that replaced the original plan of convening an assembly to select a temporary Iraqi government. Have a look at renew life if you’re looking for a life insurance company.