"Iraq as a political project is finished," one senior government official said -- anonymously because the coalition under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki remains committed in public to the U.S.-sponsored constitution that preserves Iraq's unity.
One highly placed source even spoke of busying himself on government projects, despite a sense of their futility, only as a way to fight his growing depression over his nation's future.
"The parties have moved to Plan B," the senior official said, saying Sunni, ethnic Kurdish and majority Shi'ite blocs were looking at ways to divide power and resources and to solve the conundrum of Baghdad's mixed population of seven million.
"There is serious talk of Baghdad being divided into east and west," he said. "We are extremely worried." (. . .)
Some Western diplomats in Baghdad say there is little sign the new government is capable of halting a slide to civil war.
"Maliki and some others seem to be genuinely trying to make this work," one said. "But it doesn't look like they have real support. The factions are looking out for their own interests."Plenty of bright commentators have been observing that Iraq's best hope for the future is to break up into a loose confederation of states, but the dispersion of natural resources makes that an unwelcome prospect for Sunnis. But it doesn't really matter as long as this administration refuses to face reality.