In Baghdad, 'Civil War' Is Only the Beginning

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While experts debate whether Iraq is now embroiled in a full-scale civil war, on the streets of Baghdad, the question seems moot. Baghdad residents say last week's surge of sectarian violence crossed a new threshold, and most feel there is worse to come.

The U.S. military continues to refuse to use the words "civil war" to describe the situation in Iraq. Speaking to reporters, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said that as long as Iraq's unity government remains in office, there is no civil war.

"We don't see somebody competing for control of the country at all we see a government that is still functioning," Caldwell said, "and has duly elected representatives in charge."

But Caldwell acknowledges the deepening sectarian fault lines in the capital, with the bulk of the Shia on the eastern side of the Tigris River and most of the Sunnis on the western side. The nature of the violence, he says, also varies from one side of the river to the other.

We've also seen a predominant amount of murders executions and assassinations tend to occur on the west side of the river," Caldwell said. "And the high visibility, high producing casualty events tend to occur on the east side of the river."

Sudad Mohammed, a 40-year-old photographer who used to work at Iraqi weddings and birthday parties. These days, his customers only come in to take passport photos. Everyone, he says, wants to leave.

"All you expect now is something really horrifying to happen," Mohammed said. "People expect it, they don't know what, but they're terrified."



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