TEMPLATE ANALYSIS When the President of Iraq Saddam Hussein launched a war into neighbouring Iran, he expected a quick victory as Persia had just been taken over by a group of religious zealots. Instead, his country became embroiled in the longest conventional war of the last century, a war which continued because his bitter enemy Ayatollah Khomeini had expected to profit from the presence of Shias in the south of Iraq. The Shias remained loyal to Iraq, as did most ethnic groups except Kurdish groups to the north of the country. That war cost both nations a million lives, held back their progress and served the purposes of outside powers who armed both sides to ensure neither opponent could achieve outright victory and thus hegemony of a region vital for its oil. Despite all that was thrown at Iraq it never collapsed and came out of the conflict feeling it had won the war.Then, Saddam made the fateful decision to invade Kuwait and to confront what he felt was the weakest of the two Superpowers and Iraq has been fighting that war ever since and despite everything thats been thrown at it – debilitating sanctions that killed half a million children with Desert Fox raids, Operation Enduring Freedom which cost a million Iraqi lives and endless reports of sectarianism and religious conflict, Iraq has not collapsed. So, the allies – who largely resemble the same actors that tried to manipulate the outcome of the first Persian Gulf War between Iran and Iraq – may want to bear that in mind as they launch their latest war into Iraq to defeat IS with the support of some Kurdish fighters in the north. Iraq is very much a functioning sovereign nation whose people largely remain loyal to the idea of Iraq. Any attempt to carve out an independent Kurdistan out of Iraq’s perceived imminent collapse will, like all previous attempts, fail.