Mesopotamia, as the region that includes Iraq was called until recently, had never been a "country" or "nation" in the modern senses of these words. The wise and largely benign rulers of the Ottoman Empire, who reigned over this land for centuries, realized that no outside force could ever rule this area by foisting preconceived notions of nationhood upon the population, whose loyalties lay with family, tribe, linguistic grouping, and religious orientation.Unfortunately, when historic mistakes must be corrected, but the only means of correction is armed conflict, the most violent and ruthless group will come to the fore to lead the charge. This is how the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia, to cite one well-known example. ISIS is nothing if not ruthless and bloodthirsty, but that will be their undoing as the administration of the apparatus of statehood requires skills other pure ideology. Further, they have made too many enemies. The governments of Syria, Iraq and Turkey are all going to work against them, as well as the Kurdish regional government.
Meanwhile, Browne saw the break up of Yugoslavia as instructive for what might need to happen in Iraq.
Unfortunately, this meant that wars had to be fought. Though vicious, cruel, and bloody, this process was vital. Its beneficial results can be seen on a modern map of the region: New countries such as Croatia have the telltale odd shape and wiggly lines of older, established, stable countries. Gone are those artificial border lines, the unreal trappings of a federation that should never have existed. Gone, for the most part, too, is the explosive anger that exists when ethnic groups are unwillingly thrown together. Instead, although Serbs, Croats, and the other groups do not love one another, they can now live alongside one another in relative harmony. Where this is not the case, as in Kosovo, ethnic tensions continue to bubble.I think that ISIS has made too many enemies to survive, but the idea that the Sunnis of western Mesopotamia should have their own state will outlast these vile genocidal madmen. There is no constitution capable of imposing trust between peoples riven by religious and ethnic conflict.
Some maps to help sort it out: Iraq by ethnicity/religion source: Royal Burglee's Flatworld Knowledge web site:
Here is the situation today, according to a map on Wikipedia titled "Syria and Iraq 2014-onward War map" by Haghal Jagul - Own workTemplate:Syrian civil war detailed mapTemplate:Iraq war detailed map. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Map of Syrian Civil War and the Iraqi insurgency
Controlled by Syrian rebels
Controlled by Syrian government
Controlled by Iraqi government
Controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)
Controlled by Syrian Kurds
Controlled by Iraqi Kurds
Controlled by the Qaraqosh Protection Committee