Saturday, November 25, 2006


Iraq: "Not...a civil war."

It just plays like one on TV.

White House officials ignored the Sadr bloc’s threats to withdraw from the government, and said there were no plans to cancel the president’s meetings with Mr. Maliki scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. “Securing Baghdad and gaining control of the violent situation will be a priority agenda item when President Bush meets with Prime Minister Maliki in just a few days,” said Scott Stanzel, a White House spokesman. "These ruthless acts of violence are deplorable. It is an outrage that these terrorists are targeting innocent civilians in a brazen effort to topple a democratically elected government. These killers will not succeed.”

He also repeated the administration’s insistence that Iraq was not in a civil war. “We’re constantly asked that question, and while the situation is serious, Prime Minister Maliki and President Talabani have said they do not believe it is a civil war,” he said.

The bloodletting over the past 24 hours amounted to one of the worst spasms of violence since the Americans toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, raising fears that vengeance attacks could grow to the level of those after the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February. Then, over five days, hundreds of people were killed, with Shiite militiamen shooting Sunni imams, burning down mosques and stalking Sunni Arabs door-to-door in neighborhoods.
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