Saddam Hussein's Republic of Fear left the new Iraqi government a royally messed up society and culture. And yet, as Fareed Zakaria writes
In Iraq, the one truly pleasant surprise so far is that there has been little religious and ethnic bloodshed. Many of the experts who counseled against an invasion predicted that after Saddam's fall, the Sunnis, Shias and Kurds would tear each other apart. Nothing like this has happened. The problems—of resistance, nationalism and anti-Americanism—have been quite different. But the balance is fragile. If the United States and the Iraqi government play a sectarian strategy, things could unravel.
In many of its colonies the British would often favor a single group as a quick means of gaining stability. Almost always the results were ruinous -- a trail of civil war and bloodshed. If Allawi and the United States make the same mistake, there will be 140,000 American troops in the middle of it all.