“Once you got to Iraq and took it over, and took down [the] government, then what are you going to put in its place? … If you take down the central government of Iraq you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off — part of it the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim … in the north you’ve got the Kurds. If the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It’s a quagmire…”

So said Dick Cheney in 1994, explaining why a US-led coalition did not occupy Iraq during the first Gulf War.

Cheney of course failed to heed his own advice as vice-president under George W. Bush. We’re continuing to pay the price for that disastrous misjudgement. And worse, now we’re about to repeat it. No wonder regional powers like Turkey and Saudi Arabia have minimal interest in joining us.