An article in the Washington Post today quotes various Iraqi leaders from across the politico-sectarian spectrum as saying the notion of reconcilliation is a dead duck, which blows the old rationale for the Surge to smithereeens. We will now therefore be treated to new rationales for the Surge which involve hoping for a bottom-up reconciliation and - the Right's favorite - heading of the bloody civil war which will erupt if U.S. troops withdraw.
The thing is, the first is just as unlikely as the top-down version ever was. None of the "concerned citizens" groups the U.S. military are helping become the strongest local warlords are showing signs of being at all interested in cross-sectarian peace or indeed much beyond feathering their own nests. In the case of the second, it must be asked then whether spending American blood and treasure to stave of what will eventually happen anyway, and will happen in a slow-burn manner rather than an eruption even if there's a U.S. troop presence, is worth the cost.
Nor is partition of any kind going to help. It's pretty obvious from the almost universal disapproval among Iraqis and regional neighbours to Biden's plan that both Sunnis and Shiites still see the prize being rule of a united Iraq and that the neighbours see partition as creating a potential wave of seperatism in their own nations which would destabilize the whole region and demand their intervention in their own national interests.
At this point, the Gordian Knot which the Bush administration's military meddling in Iraq has caused is unravellable by any means whatsoever for the short to medium future - and a far worse tangle than would have been created by leaving matters well alone. Which is exactly what was predicted would happen by those who opposed armed intervention in Iraq in the first place.