"In Iraq, Civil War All but Declared"
That post title is the headline the Los Angeles Times has applied to Borzou Daragahi's latest. The lede:
BAGHDAD — Retaliatory massacres by gunmen and bombers linked to rival Muslim sects have left more than 130 people dead across Iraq over the last two days, the latest casualties of what some politicians now are calling an undeclared civil war.The most significant quotes:
Since the beginning of May, attacks by Sunni Arab and Shiite Muslims have claimed the lives of more than 6,000 Iraqi civilians, according to a United Nations study and Iraqi police reports.
The Kufa blast, coming on the heels of mass killings and bombings attributed to Sadr's Al Mahdi militia and its Sunni Arab enemies, brought the battle to the Shiite cleric's doorstep, igniting fears of a fresh wave of reprisal killings.
"The message is clear, and the message confirms the sectarian differences," said Fadhil Sharih, a leader of the Sadr movement. "It seems clear that it's been moving toward the direction of civil war."
U.S. and Iraqi government leaders have argued that the 150,000-strong foreign troop presence has kept the country from descending into full-scale civil war. But many Iraqi officials fear the threshold has been crossed.
"What is happening in Iraq is a disaster and a tragedy," Adnan Dulaimi, a Sunni Arab leader, said in an interview.
"It's bloodshed and killing of the innocents, killing the elderly and women and children. It's mass killings. It's nothing less than an undeclared civil war."