In other words, Iraq is once again teetering on the brink of the abyss. It’s not a reassuring sight as we end this year of tumult right across the Arab world.
Footnote: I realise we’ve brought you a lot more doom and gloom over the past 12 months than you would have liked – so let me suggest what you can hope for in the coming year: a clement winter with no gales, blizzards or floods; an unexpected economic upturn with lots of new jobs; a mysterious benefactor who pays off all the eurozone’s debts; a successful London Olympics with a lovely clutch of gold medals for Team GB; and an end to strife in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and Iraq.
I didn’t say it’ll happen – I suggested you can hope for it. Meanwhile, as I say at this time every year: enjoy the company of your family and friends; admire the trees and the flowers in parks and gardens; count your blessings.
Sunny Christmas thoughts from Robin Lustig at the BBC