"We've made an agreement with the neighbours that, if we have another attack, they'll pick up their weapons and fight the invaders," said Fares Mahmoud, deputy preacher of the El Koudiri Mosque. To the Financial Times.
Iraq's state is hollow -- it exists but without any meaningful functionality. The easy way to visualize this is to view this within the context of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. A hollow state doesn't provide the first two layers, which by extension makes the layers above it inconsequential (contrast this to the US strategy for Iraq). These services, to the extent that they do exist, are being supplied by black markets (from gasoline to the 2 MW ad-hoc electricity network in Baghdad) and neighborhood militias. In order to get these services, the population has replaced any residual loyalty to the state with primary loyalties (to tribe, family, mosque, religion, gang, etc.).
Now that this transition to primary loyalties is complete, the feedback loops of ongoing decentralized conflict (see War's New Equilibrium for more on Spagat and Johnson's analysis on the new power law for 21st century warfare) and large scale systems disruption (I have lots of briefs on this topic stretching back to 2004) will ensure that it stays that way. Also, the alternative transnational market structures of black globalization, driven primarily by the smuggling of hundreds of millions of dollars in bunkered fuel every month, will provide much of the fuel to keep this situation going.What this means is that Iraq will remain in this condition for decades (the same will be true with Afghanistan as it fractures under the weight of the transnational market for opium, as will Nigeria with oil). Increasing pressure on US forces (from all sides) and an inability to take sides will eventually result in a US withdrawal. Oil production from Iraq will remain at current levels -- below pre-war -- despite the need for it to supply rapid growth in global demand. Regional instability will follow and transnational terrorism will continue its meteoric growth rate. Unfortunately, unlike the US withdrawal from Vietnam, global integration will ensure that this conflict will follow US forces back home.