Full-blown civil war adds to body count in Iraq

The Bush administration won’t admit it but Iraq is in the midst of a full-blown civil war.

After Thursday’s bloodbath turned into the deadliest day of the war, retaliations between Shiites and Sunnis added to the body count and a threat by the Shiite bloc to walk out could doom the already-shaky government of the country.

From most points of view, the United States’ ill-conceived invasion of Iraq has turned the nation into a living hell where civilians die daily and thousands upon thousands flee their homeland.

Reports Solomon Moore of The Los Angeles Times:

Iraq’s civil war worsened Friday as Shiite and Sunni Arabs engaged in retaliatory attacks after coordinated car bombings that killed more than 200 people in a Shiite neighborhood the day before. A main Shiite political faction threatened to quit the government, a move that probably would cause its collapse and plunge the nation deeper into disarray.

The massacre Thursday in Sadr City — a stronghold of Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr and his Al Mahdi militia — sparked attacks around the country, reinforced doubts about the effectiveness of the Iraqi government and U.S. military and emboldened Shiite vigilantes.

In a sermon Friday, Sadr, a strong opponent of the United States, said the Pentagon’s refusal to grant full control of Iraqi security forces to the Baghdad government was leaving the populace vulnerable to insurgent attacks.

And as Sadr’s militiamen took matters into their own hands in battles with Sunni Arabs, his political representatives demanded that Prime Minister Nouri Maliki signal his displeasure with the U.S. military occupation by canceling a meeting with President Bush next week in Jordan.

Sadr’s representatives said they would withdraw from Maliki’s government if the prime minister did not meet their demands.