Iraq has experienced two consecutive annis horribiles and there are strong reasons to think that 2016 could plumb fresh depths, ranging from political rivalry in Baghdad, Kurdish institutional limbo and interventions from foreign states.

Parliament’s approval of the 2016 budget on 16 December was an achievement of sorts, but its headline assumptions were highly unrealistic (MEES, 18 December). Assumed revenues of $71.9bn and projected spending of $93.2bn, with a resultant deficit...