Acrid discussion about how the Anglo-American invasion of 2003 led to the implosion of Iraq as a unitary state in 2014, along with a bemused US Congress questioning how the Iraqi army could melt away before the jihadi hordes despite $30bn spent training and equipping it, are certainly debates worth having. But they will not save Baghdad.
The recklessness with which the US-led occupation pulverised the Iraqi state – changing the regional balance of power, igniting sectarian war and unseating the hitherto ruling Sunni minority – was followed by the west’s poor decision-making over Syria. The outsourcing of western support for the (majority Sunni) rebellion in Syria to Saudi Arabia, its Gulf allies and Turkey, along with parsimonious backing for mainstream rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad, was bound to create a new jihadist Frankenstein’s monster in the heart of the Near East.
But the urgent question is how to stop what is essentially a Sunni Arab uprising, which the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as Isis) has managed to put itself at the head of – at least for now.