The quick advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters through Mosul and Tikrit to positions within 50 miles of Baghdad has brought to the fore the deep divisions in the country and the lack of loyalty most Sunnis and Kurds feel toward Baghdad. Indeed, even if support from the United States and Iran succeeds in shoring up the disintegrating Iraqi army and stopping ISIS's advance, the reality is that the days of Iraq as a unitary country that can be ruled by a powerful government in Baghdad are over.

We do not know yet for sure why the military melted away so quickly, with soldiers deserting their posts and abandoning weapons. Leaks from the Kurdish defense forces, the peshmerga, suggest that Iraqi troops stationed in Mosul were seen as undisciplined and corrupt and that officers from Saddam Hussein's old military had been working on behalf of ISIS.

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