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Updated: 9:30 a.m. ET March 19, 2006
LONDON - Iraq is in a state of civil war and is nearing the point of no return when the country’s sectarian violence will spill over throughout the Middle East, former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said on Sunday.
Three years after the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein, Iraq is in turmoil with a raging insurgency and a surge in sectarian bloodletting between Sunni Arabs and majority Shiite Muslims.
“It is unfortunate that we are in civil war. We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is,” he told the British Broadcasting Corp.
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Cartoon by mister Mike Keefe for Denver Post.
Originally posted by desert
I seem to remember a certain "Shock and Awe" for shock value and the curent Operation Swarmer hype for dumbness. Iraq was Pandora's Box, as Powell warned, so the time to worry about civil unrest/war was three years ago.
Retired US Army Major General Paul Eaton, who was in charge of training Iraqi military forces from 2003 to 2004, described Mr Rumsfeld as "incompetent" and urged him to resign.
In the New York Times, Gen Eaton said Mr Rumsfeld had "shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically, and is far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to our important mission in Iraq."
But on the eve of the third anniversary of the US-led invasion on Monday, Mr Allawi said an average of 50 or 60 people were dying each day in continuing violence, adding: "If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is."
AlterNet - Joshue Holland
Three years after the U.S. invasion, a snapshot of Iraq reveals a country that is miles from anything resembling a 'road to progress.'
At the end of last year, Iraqis had 11 percent less electricity and 36 percent less potable water than before the 2003 invasion. The number of Iraqis with sewer access has fallen by 90 percent, and oil output is down by more than 20 percent. A poll in mid-2004 found that seven out of 10 Iraqis see the U.S. as "occupiers," not "liberators." A more recent survey showed that almost half of all Iraqis support armed attacks on U.S. troops. And this weekend, former Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi told the BBC that Iraq was smack in the middle of a civil war.
Welcome to Liberated Iraq
From a physician's viewpoint, liberation means rising infant mortality, critical shortages of medicines, terrorized doctors and the return of diseases once under control.
Many people thought that after the U.S. occupied our country and the sanctions were lifted, the health care of the Iraqi people would improve. But the occupation has made it worse. Many of the Iraqi hospitals in cities like Baghdad, Al-Qaim, and Fallujah were bombed and destroyed. Many ambulances were attacked and health workers killed, despite the fact that it is illegal under international law to attack hospitals, ambulances and health workers.
After our hospitals were bombed and looted, millions of dollars were given to contractors to repair them. We suggested that this money be used to buy things that we urgently need, but the contractors refused and instead bought furniture and flowers and superficial things. Meanwhile, we suffer from a critical shortage of medicines, emergency supplies and anesthesia, and there is no sterilization in the operation rooms. As the director of the pharmacy department in my hospital, I refused to sit on a new chair while there were no sterile operating rooms.
I remember one day in the hospital we started talking about the Americans and asking if they had brought us anything good. No, we said, with all their wealth and knowledge, they haven't shared their great technology, they haven't given us new equipment, they haven't even given us basic medicines. "Yes, they have given us something," said one doctor. "They brought us cold storage for the corpses."
A civil war is a war in which parties within the same country or empire struggle for national control of state power. As in any war, the conflict may be over other matters such as religion, ethnicity, or distribution of wealth. Some civil wars are also categorized as revolutions when major societal restructuring is a possible outcome of the conflict. An insurgency, whether successful or not, is likely to be classified as a civil war by some historians if, and only if, organized armies fight conventional battles. Other historians state the criteria for a civil war is that there must be prolonged violence between organized factions or defined regions of a country (conventionally fought or not). In simple terms, a Civil War is a war in which a country fights another part of itself.
World Peace Herald
President Bush's repeated denials, the figures are clear: 900 sectarian killings in a single month in Iraq means a civil war is well under way.
Iraq is a nation of 25 million people. In the United States, that level of killing would proportionately equal almost 11,000 people killed in riots, reprisal killings and sectarian clashes in a single month.
By comparison, the 30 years of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland from 1968 to 1998 saw 3,600 people killed in a small population of 1.5 million. Proportionately, that would equate to 60,000 dead over 30 years in Iraq, or 2,000 killed per year. Instead, if the current Iraqi violence simply stays at the current level and does not escalate any further, it will take 10,800 Iraqi civilian lives this year. That rate would be more than five times the average rate of the Northern Irish conflict.
The rate of killings in Iraq is already as bad as during the horrendous 1975-1991 Lebanese Civil War, in which 150,000 to 200,000 people were killed over 16 years -- an average of between 9,375 and 12,500 people were killed there per year.
Sectarian Strife Fuels Gun Sales in BaghdadSectarian Strife Fuels Gun Sales in Baghdad
With chipped, painted fingernails, Nahrawan al-Janabi picked up a cartridge and slid it into the chamber.
Akram Abdulzahra now keeps his revolver handy at his job in an Internet cafe. Haidar Hussein, a Baghdad bookseller, just bought a fully automatic assault rifle and has been teaching his wife how to shoot.
Iraq has long been awash in guns. But after the bombing of a sacred Shiite shrine in Samarra in late February, sectarian tensions exploded, and more Iraqis than ever have been buying, carrying and stockpiling weapons, adding an unnerving level of firepower to Baghdad's streets.
The average price for a Russian-made Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, which is perfectly legal here, has jumped to $290 from $112 in the past month, according to several gun dealers. Bullets have climbed to 33 cents each from 24 cents.
Hand grenades, which are not legal but are easy to get, run $95. Pre-Samarra, they were about half that. The swiftly rising prices are one clear sign that weapon sales are hot.
Sectarian revenge has become the new common form of violence. Baghdad's homicide rate since the Samarra attack has tripled, to 33 killings per day.
One seller, who gave his name as Abu Abdullah, said that after Samarra, so many people were buying arms he had trouble filling orders.
"I didn't like to do it," he said, "but I had to raise prices."
Still, he said, business was booming.