'After six years of immense strife and tears and some successes, the two great Iraq imponderables remain: the degree to which Iraq's leaders are ready and able to help themselves; and the willingness of the "international community", meaning principally the US, to go the extra mile down what has been a very long road indeed.
Iraq is yesterday's story, or at least most US policymakers hope it is. Yet even now, nobody really knows how the story will finish. "Iraq continues to unnerve and tantalise," said columnist Tom Friedman. "Watching Iraqi politics is like watching a tightrope artist crossing a dangerous cavern. At every step it looks as though he is going to fall into the abyss and yet, somehow, he continues to wobble forward."
Friedman added a salutary word about priorities for wobblers in Washington and London. "Remember: transform Iraq and it will impact the whole Arab-Muslim world. Change Afghanistan and you just change Afghanistan." '