May 29, 2005
The Los Angeles Times

Risk of Civil War Spreads Fear Across Nation

Many worry that strains between Sunnis and Shiites could ignite a conflict that would overwhelm U.S. troops and the government.

by Jeffrey Fleishman

BAGHDAD--Explosions rip through marketplaces, scattering blood and vegetables and leaving women wailing in the alleys. Bodies bob in rivers and are dug up from garbage dumps and parks. Kidnappers troll the streets, sirens howl through morning prayers and mortar rounds whistle against skylines of minarets.

Iraqis awake each day to the sounds of violence. With little respite, many wonder whether strange, terrible forces are arrayed against them. They fear that weeks of sectarian and clan violence, claiming the lives of all types from imams to barefoot fishermen, are a prelude to civil war.

"I'm worried 24 hours a day," said Zainab Hassan, a university student majoring in computer science. "Whenever I hear bomb or shooting, I call my mother and husband to check if they're OK. I can see a civil war coming, it's obvious. Everybody is talking about it. We have to be more careful."

Iraqis such as Abu Mohammed, who sells books along the Tigris River, struggle to comprehend how the euphoria of January's election has withered so quickly. They find contradictions rather than answers. Life has become a vicious thrum, with boys clinging to courtyard walls and gun battles beneath the date palms appearing live on TV.

Interviews with Iraqis from Basra to Baghdad to Mosul suggest that much of the nation fears that intensifying strains between Sunni and Shiite Muslims could ignite a conflict that would overwhelm the increasingly unpopular Iraqi government and 140,000 U.S. troops. Abu Mohammed blames, among others, Saddam Hussein, who, even from his jail cell, seems to taunt the country. . . .

Nearly 700 people have been killed in car bombings and by shootings and beheadings in the last month. What concerns U.S. officials and ordinary Iraqis is that militant leaders such as Abu Musab Zarqawi are attempting to instigate a two-track war: one, the continuing battle between insurgents and American and Iraqi forces, and another between Shiite and Sunni Arabs that could possibly draw in Kurds from the north.

"It's time for Iraqis to stand together to foil the dirty attempts of the enemies to implant sectarian war on this injured country," said Naim Salman, a civil servant in Baghdad. "The government is trying its best, but it is still not enough. It is a new government and it needs time, especially when terrorists are infiltrating ministries." . . .


[The report claims as many as 260,000 could die in the conflict and its three-month aftermath, with a further 200,000 at risk in the longer term from famine and disease. A civil war in Iraq could add another 20,000 deaths.

Collateral Damage is being published on Tuesday in 14 countries and has been compiled by Medact, an organisation of British health professionals.--Rob Edwards, "Iraq War 'Could Kill 500,000',", November 12, 2002]

Robert Fisk, "All This Talk of Civil War, and Now This Carnage. Coincidence?," Independent, March 3, 2004

[Oddly, among the things they were trained to do at Harvey Point was practice blowing up busses - Palestinian-terrorist style. "We made a school bus disappear with about twenty pounds of U.S. C-4," said former CIA officer Robert Baer. . . . "We were also taught some of the really esoteric stuff like E-cell timers, improvising pressurized airplane bombs using a condom and aluminum foil, . . . By the end of the training, we could have taught an advanced terrorism course." --James Bamford, "A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies," Doubleday (June 8, 2004), p132]

"Iraqi's Big Issue: U.S. Exit Plan," The Wisdom Fund, January 23, 2005

Michael Meacher, "America is Usurping the Democratic Will in Iraq," Independent, April 5, 2005

[Pentagon financing of these myriad militias and the active involvement of Allawi in all these operations suggest that the Pentagon itself is destabilizing the country it is supposed to control. Destination: civil war.--Pepe Escobar, "Iraq's hostage cabinet," Asia Times, April 30, 2005]

[The only feasible explanation for this incident is that the car was indeed booby trapped by the Americans and intended for the al-Khadimiya Shiite district of Baghdad. The helicopter was monitoring his movement and witnessing the anticipated "hideous attack by foreign elements".--John Kaminski, "Sick strategies for senseless slaughter,", May 24, 2005]

Nancy A. Youssef, "Proposal to divide Iraq into semi-autonomous states gains ground," Knight Ridder Newspapers, May 24, 2005

Paul Craig Roberts, "Bush Opts for Civil War in Iraq,", May 30, 2005

[Against all odds, a national liberation front is emerging in Iraq. Washington hawks may see it coming, but they certainly don't want it. Many groups in this front have already met in Algiers. The front is opposed to the American occupation and permanent Pentagon military bases; opposed to the privatization and corporate looting of the Iraqi economy; and opposed to the federation of Iraq, ie balkanization. Members of the front clearly see through the plan of fueling sectarianism to provoke an atmosphere of civil war, thus legitimizing the American presence.--Pepe Escobar, "Exit strategy: Civil war," Asia Times, June 10, 2005]

Aaron Glantz, "The Only Hope to Avert Civil War,", June 10, 2005

Patrick Cockburn, "Iraq: A bloody mess," Independent, June 28, 2005

VIDEO1, VIDEO2: Aidan Delgado, "What I Saw in Iraq,", June 3, 2005

Sami Ramadani, "It is not withdrawal that threatens Iraq with civil war, but occupation," Guardian, July 5, 2005

"Joint US-Iraqi task force to set terms for US troop exit," Agence France Presse, July 24, 2005

[No matter how many troops it has on the ground in Iraq, the Pentagon will be set up for a major role there. A recent letter in the New York Times shed more light on the Bush administration's intentions than hours of network punditry. "My brother-in-law just returned from a stint in Iraq with the Minnesota Air National Guard," wrote Ronald M. Asher II. "Although he couldn't tell me where in Iraq he was stationed, he did say that the level and type of construction going on at the air base convinced him that the United States military planned on being there for a very long time."--Norman Solomon, "Operation Withdrawal Scam,", August 2, 2005]

Robert Fisk, "Why is it that we and America wish civil war on Iraq?," Guardian, September 15, 2005

[So what we have here is a clear instance of a foreign power attempting to fabricate a terrorist attack. Why else would the soldiers be dressed as Arabs if not to frame them? Why have a car laden with explosives if you don't plan to use them for destructive purposes? Iraq is headed towards civil war, and this operation was meant to accelerate the process by killing people and blaming others.-- Matt Hutaff, "Fake Terrorism Is a Coalition's Best Friend," The Simon, September 20, 2005]

Nafeez Ahmed, "BRITISH UNDERCOVER OPERATIVES IN IRAQ," The Raw Story, September 23, 2005

[Top U.S. military officials here have long emphasized the influence of groups such as al Qaeda in Iraq, an insurgent network led by a Jordanian, Abu Musab Zarqawi. But analysts say the focus on foreign elements is also an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the insurgency in the eyes of Iraqis, by portraying it as terrorism foisted on the country by outsiders.--Jonathan Finer, "Among Insurgents in Iraq, Few Foreigners Are Found," Washington Post, November 17, 2005]

[Michael Berg, whose son Nick was beheaded in Iraq in 2004, said on Thursday he felt no sense of relief at the killing of the al Qaeda leader in Iraq and blamed President Bush for his son's death. --Jon Hurdle, "Father of beheaded man blames Bush, not Zarqawi," Reuters, June 8, 2006]

[ . . . the Jordanian thug whose dubious allegiance to al-Qa'ida turned him in to another "Enemy Number One" for those who believe they are fighting the eternal "war on terror". For so short is our attention span - and Messrs Bush and Blair, of course, rely on this - we have already forgotten that our leaders' only interest in Zarqawi before the illegal 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq was to propagate the lie that Osama bin Laden was in cahoots with Saddam Hussein.--Robert Fisk, "Zarqawi's end is not a famous victory, nor will it bring Iraq any nearer to peace," Independent, June 9, 2006]

Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus, "Zarqawi Helped U.S. Argument That Al-Qaeda Network Was in Iraq," Washington Post, June 10, 2006

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