THE ANNIVERSARY this week of the invasion of Iraq has generated plenty of commentary about the lessons of that war. But relatively little has been said about the current state of U.S. relations with a country that remains one of the world’s largest oil producers and a strategic crossroads of the Middle East. For the first time in decades, contemporary Iraq poses no threat to its neighbors, and parts of the country are flourishing. But violence continues, the central government appears to be crumbling, and the United States, by failing to live up to its promises of partnership, is tipping the country toward deeper trouble.
Iraq remains plagued by the sectarianism that now pervades the Middle East. Following a democratic election in 2010, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, formed a coalition government with parties representing Kurds and secular Sunnis. But he has since driven the Sunni vice president into exile, while the Sunni finance minister and Kurdish foreign minister no longer visit Baghdad, much less carry out their duties. Sunnis in western Iraq are growing increasingly restless, while the remnants of al-Qaeda continue attacks against Shiite targets in Baghdad. Tensions are also growing between Mr. Maliki and the autonomous region of Kurdistan, with both sides deploying military forces near territories claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurds.