The Middle East crisis that peaked one year ago Wednesday when the Islamic State captured Mosul may result in the breakup of Iraq and an indefinite continuation of a war in Syria that’s already out of control, analysts say.
Yet still worse things could happen.
“The conditions are very much like 1914,” says Michael Stephens of the Royal United Service Institute in London. “All it will take is one little spark, and Iran and Saudi Arabia will go at each other, believing they are fighting a defensive war.”
Hiwa Osman, an Iraqi Kurdish commentator, was even more blunt: “The whole region is braced for the big war, the war that has not yet happened, the Shiite-Sunni war.”
U.S. and foreign experts say the U.S still has not developed a strategy for dealing with the Sunni extremists who now hold more territory Iraq and Syria than one year ago. President Barack Obama on Monday acknowledged that the U.S. strategy in Iraq was a work in progress. “We don’t have, yet, a complete strategy, because it requires commitments on the part of Iraqis as well,” Obama said at the close of the G-7 summit in Germany. “The details are not worked out.”
Read More: ISTANBUL: Mideast’s worst case: A ‘big war’ pitting Shia Muslims against Sunni | Middle East | McClatchy DC