Is the Iraq Conflict Now a Civil War? The L.A. Times Knows for Sure . . . (UPDATED: But Al Jazeera Doesn’t!)
Is the Iraq sectarian violence a full-scale civil war? Various factions might debate it, but Solomon Moore — the guy who wrote that flawed story about Ramadi and wouldn’t respond to my questions about it — has made up his mind. He has a piece titled Civil war worsens, which begins:
Iraq’s civil war worsened Friday as Shiite and Sunni Arabs engaged in retaliatory attacks in the wake of coordinated car-bombings that killed more than 200 people in a Shiite slum the day before — even as a main Shiite political faction threatened a walkout, a move that likely would lead to the government’s collapse and plunge the nation deeper into disarray.
I guess the debate is over.
UPDATE x4 (Bumped to top for obvious reasons): While the L.A. Times says that we’re already in a civil war, Al Jazeera quotes a UN envoy saying we’re headed there:
Meanwhile, a UN envoy has urged Iraq’s government to halt a slide into civil war and stop the “cancer” of sectarianism from destroying the country, warning that the carnage of this week could tear Iraq apart.
As the updates below show, the L.A. Times article also quotes an expert worried that we’re headed in that direction. But the L.A. Times declares we’re in civil war now. In its story, Al Jazeera does not.
UPDATE: The title of the piece has been changed, to “Wave of retaliation sweeps Iraq.” The first line of the article continues to describe Iraq as being in a civil war. You can currently see this by doing a Google search for “Iraq civil war,” which shows numerous stories about how we might be sliding towards civil war — and the L.A. Times story titled “Civil war worsens” that concludes we’re already there.
UPDATE x2: Some commenters are saying, of course it’s a civil war. (Understand, though, that there are a lot of folks coming in from “Crooks and Liars” today.) The odd thing is, an expert quoted in the Times article doesn’t seem to think it is, yet — just that it might become one:
Anthony Cordesman, a former Defense Department official and a military expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, another Washington think tank, said Sadr’s challenge to Dhari might be even more dangerous than that to Maliki. If the Sunnis fail to satisfy Sadr, Cordesman argued, sectarian violence could grow even worse.
“It’s going to take a couple days to know how serious this is,” he said. “Will this lead to a large-scale civil war? The worse case is that this leads to enough misunderstanding and anger to drive the country into full-scale civil war.”
(It might even be the “worst” case.)
That’s OK, the reporter knows better than the expert. Even though the reporter doesn’t even know the basic facts about what’s going on in the country, as I noted yesterday.
UPDATE x3: Just to give you more detail about what others are saying: if you look at the top stories in that Google search for “Iraq civil war” listed above, you’ll see a Reuters story titled “Baghdad violence fuels fears of civil war.” Another is titled UN envoy warns of Iraq civil war.
Don’t Reuters and UN envoys read the L.A. Times? We’re not headed there; we’re already there. It’s not a matter of opinion; it’s hard news, baby.