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As violence escalates, Iraq ‘descending into civil war’

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September 19, 2006

Iraqi lawmakers again put off a divisive debate on federalism that was set for Tuesday after a fresh wave of violence killed 50 people and prompted a warning from the United Nations that Iraq was descending into civil war.

In some of his bluntest remarks on Iraq, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told an international conference on Monday: "If current patterns of alienation and violence persist much longer, there is a grave danger that the Iraqi state will break down, possibly in the midst of full-scale civil war."

His remarks came on a day which saw a bout of car bombs, shootings and sectarian killings across Iraq ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, when U.S. officials are expecting an increase of violence by al Qaeda and other Sunni militant groups. Ramadan starts next week.

On Tuesday, a car bomb near a factory to fill gas canisters in southern Baghdad killed two people and wounded 24 others.

Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish legislators agreed late on Monday to again put off the debate on federalism some Iraqis fear could unleash more bloodshed and break up the country.

Legislators from the Shi’ite majority, which swept to power in U.S.-backed polls after decades of oppression under Saddam Hussein, wanted parliament to discuss a bill that defines the mechanics of federalism, one of Iraq’s most divisive issues.

Some Shi’ite leaders want to create a Shi’ite region in the oil-rich south, modeled on the Kurdish region in the north.

Minority Sunnis, dominant under Saddam and now the core of the rebellion, fear federalism will break up Iraq and cut them off from its oilfields in the north and south. They want constitutional amendments that guarantees revenue-sharing.

After marathon discussions, leaders agreed to set up parliamentary commissions to deal with both issues at once.

"We have agreed not to present the bill to parliament on Tuesday and allow more time for discussion," a senior Shi’ite source told Reuters at the end of a meeting. However, parliament will reconvene on Tuesday.

BAGHDAD TRENCHES

Bracing Baghdad for an expected increase in attacks ahead of Ramadan, U.S. and Iraqi officials are planning to shield the capital from car bombers by sealing off its entrances with checkpoints and trenches.

However, suicide bombers have staged deadly attacks in the past two days to the north and the west of the capital, where U.S. forces have diverted troops from the Sunni insurgent bastion of Anbar province to boost security in Baghdad.

The U.S. military said on Tuesday two U.S. soldiers were killed in Baghdad on Sunday and five others were wounded in a bomb blast in the town of Diwaniya late on Monday.

A U.S. tank was also damaged in Diwaniya, south of Baghdad, where U.S. commanders sent reinforcements three weeks ago after at least 20 Iraqi soldiers were killed in fierce street battles with Shi’ite militias.

The U.S. military handed over operational command of a second Iraqi army division to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has said he hopes he will run most of Iraq by the end of 2006.

Washington is gradually handing over security to Iraq’s fledgling forces under a plan to eventually pull out its troops.

Withdrawal plans have been complicated by a wave of sectarian violence since the February bombing of a Shi’ite shrine in that has killed thousands and forced many more to flee.


8 Responses to As violence escalates, Iraq ‘descending into civil war’

  1. Sandy Price

    September 19, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    I wonder if the United Nations will say anything about this mess during their meeting starting today?

    America looks rather stupid with our continuing to stay in the middle of a civil war but why do we continue to sacrifice our servicemen and women?

    It almost seems as if Bush is deliberately tearing America apart with this mess in Iraq. We are simply encouraging the terrorists in Iraq to keep killing and we never seem to learn where the center of this terrorism is found.

    Is it Iran? Is it within the Arabic nations? Is it OBL? How can we continue to fight without recognizing the enemy? Are we the enemy?

  2. bryan mcclellan

    September 19, 2006 at 3:21 pm

    Bush wants Arrmegedon on his watch,he thinks he is heaven sent to put the end days into motion, why else would he enlist the Pope to stir up more anti Judeo outrage. We need to get our people out and let them settle they’re own politics among the arab world . To hell with the oil, we’ve got plenty,and if we have to tighten our belts ,so be,it.The center of this problem is the cabal in the whitehouse, it lies with the greedy oil masters. Refute that if you can!!!!!

  3. JimZ

    September 19, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    Bu$h has never cleaned up his own mess. Either daddy or daddy’s friends have been bailing him out his whole life. No wonder why Jeb claims he doesn’t want to run for Pres. in 2008. So-called “insiders” say that Dubya in recent years ignores his father’s advice and the alleged James Baker-led Iraq study group doesn’t seem to be doing much good for the rest of us.

    Sad that I would bet that many people that voted for Dubya thought that he would be taking his father’s advice and have good advisors. I am sympathetic to that because I was duped into voting for him as Texas governor in 1994 by the major media (who have always been soft on him) and the portrayal by the Republican party that he would “lead like his father”. Instead, we get a spoiled brat who throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way on everything, even though what he is doing is destroying our country, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan (who arguably couldn’t be destroyed any more than it already was).

    When will the denial end so that Bu$hCo can admit they have failed in Iraq and save our troops by getting us the hell outta there. Either they do it now and save some more lives or worse, stay the course and lead us to more deaths and disaster.

    Besides, as long as we are in Iraq, he can keep calling himself “Commander In Chief” and play with his Army men and keep destroying the Consitution. God help us if this megalomaniac goes to war with Iran.

    Democrats in Congress: Where are your BALLS? Oh, that’s right, they all got neutered when Daschle was defeated. Sad that he was the collective balls of the whole Democratic party in Congress, flawed as he was. Poor Murtha has to do it all on his own without any help. Same with Feingold. Shame on the rest of you for not standing up with them. You are complicit in this disaster. Howard Dean, too for changing his stand and becoming “one of them” (the Beltway Democrats).

  4. JimZ

    September 19, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    Oops in my last post I forgot to give “honorable” mention to TX GOP Congressman Ron Paul. Kudos to you for standing up against your own party on issues that matter. Sorry the CorpoMedia don’t give you any exposure. Guess they’ve “been told” to ignore you by Karl. Too bad more in your own party won’t stand up with you. It’d almost make me go back to being a Republican once again.

  5. Brother Tim

    September 19, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    Ron Paul—One of the very few Patriots in Congress. A TRUE Conservative Republican. If there were more like him, I too, would probably go back to voting Republican.

  6. Sandy Price

    September 19, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    I am aware of the patriotism and courage of Congressman Ron Paul and feel that many others are too. If our Congress could ever get back to having real statesmen like Paul, I too would return to the GOP.

    I cannot follow the GOP as it stands today as it is filled with too much corruption, lies and manipulations to suit me. I guess we should expect a certain percentage of the graft that follows all politicians, but under the current leadership it is too much! way too much!

  7. Charlie Couser

    September 20, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you, George W. Bush!

    Your lack of intelligence, your lies and your inability to think rationally have destroyed Iraq, a sovernign nation, increased instability in the Middle East and has placed the USA in greater danger instead of making us safer!

    The world remembers Hitler, Stalin and tse Tung as monsterous murderers. I am quite certain history will add your name to that list as well. And rightly so, I might add!!

  8. Virgie

    September 21, 2006 at 8:50 am

    9/21/06
    12:31 a.m.

    Seems like Bush will never learn right from wrong during his life time.There our troops have been in iraq for five years or more.
    The people in iraq have no electricty or water and all that could have taken care of after getting saddam and then got out of iraq like they thought they would. (Don’t think that’s what Rumsfeld and Bush really wanted though )
    Our troops have been put through hell for that one country. and what do the iraqis have to show for the help. A Failed government that is waning on down.
    Same ole thing as before the usa, went into iraq the sunni, kurds and shiites can not get along with each other.
    Well it’s high time the us bring our troops home out of that hell hole, and let those iraqis dig those ditches their self, and look out for their own well being.
    Our troops have done more than enough for them.