Iraq crisis: Can Kerry pull Iraq back from the brink?

John Kerry meets Iraq's Foreign Minister on 23 July Mr Kerry warned that Sunni militants Isis' "ideology of violence and repression is a threat not only to Iraq but to the entire region"

US influence in Iraq is much reduced from the high point of the American presence here, but it is still a player with some weight in the Iraqi political game.

John Kerry is trying to persuade politicians across the board to rise above the sectarian and ethnic divides and come together to pull their country back from the brink of fragmentation.

The question is no longer whether Iraq is splitting up - it is. The question is whether that process can somehow be reversed. The odds are not good.

Iraqi FM Hoshyar Zebari: ''This is our fight... but it has regional and international dimensions''

A Sunni entity is already virtually there, stretching from Mosul in the north down the Tigris valley and across to al-Anbar province west of Baghdad.

The Kurds already run their practically independent autonomous region in the north, now expanded to disputed areas including oil-rich Kirkuk. The majority Shia have the provinces south of Baghdad down to Basra.

That leaves the mixed central areas of Baghdad and Diyala province to its north-east still to be contested, unless a political settlement can be found.

No meeting of minds

Clearly, a united Iraq under iron-fist central rule from Baghdad is a thing of the past.

A future Iraq will clearly have to involve a large measure of devolution, if not actual partition.

It could happen bloodily, or by agreement, though time for the latter seems to be running out fast as sectarian passions rise.

It's unlikely that Mr Kerry will find a single Iraqi leader apart from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who believes that the incumbent premier is the man to lead a reconciliation process necessary for a political solution.

But if Iran insists that Mr Maliki has to stay - as it has with Bashar al-Assad in Syria - the chances of a settlement will be sharply reduced.

A solution would require some kind of understanding between the two major outside players, the US and Iran, but there's little sign of a meeting of minds so far.

John Kerry: "Isis is a threat not only to Iraq but to the entire region"

Iraq map

Are you in Iraq or do you have family in the country? You can contact us by emailing using 'Iraq' in the subject heading.

Alternatively you can get in touch using this form

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

More on This Story

More Middle East stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • TravelAround the world

    BBC Travel takes a look at the most striking images from the past seven days


  • BatteriesClick Watch

    More power to your phone - the lithium-ion batteries that could last twice as long

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.