Sunday, October 15, 2006

Analysis: Iraq goes deeper into division

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Sunni Arab and al-Qaida insurgency that first shoved Iraq toward chaos three years ago clearly had taken a back seat by Sunday to the sectarian bloodletting that is sending the country spiraling toward — if not deeper into — civil war.

Evidence continued to mount in the 44th month of U.S. involvement that Iraqi centers of power — politicians and the government, the police and military — were unable or unwilling to rein in violence in parts of the country where Sunni and Shiite Muslim or Kurdish populations rub up against one another.

The violence has forced at least 1.5 million Iraqis to flee their homeland, with hundreds of new passports being issued daily to those who can afford a plane ticket or taxi ride out of the country, according to the Migration Ministry. The ministry said 300,000 people had also left their homes for elsewhere in Iraq.

The Shiite Majority in parliament, over complaints of dirty tricks from rival Sunni and even some Shiite legislators, adopted a measure that would allow the effective partition of the country after an 18-month waiting period — something widely opposed in polls of Iraqis.

"The starting point is to recognize that Iraq is not going to be a democratic, unified country that serves as a model for the region. The violence and the Sunni-Shiite division have already ruled that out," Dennis Ross, a Mideast peace negotiator and policy maker for Presidents Clinton and George H.W. Bush, wrote in an Op-ed column for the Washington Post on Sunday.

Read the rest at Yahoo News