Two of the most senior US generals conceded to Congress on Thursday that the surge in sectarian violence in Baghdad in recent weeks means Iraq may descend into civil war.
"Iraq could move toward civil war" if the violence is not contained, General John Abizaid, the top US commander in the Middle East, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I have seen it," he said, adding that the top priority in Iraq is to secure the capital, where factional violence has surged in recent weeks despite efforts by the new Iraqi government to stop the fighting.
General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the panel, "We do have the possibility of that devolving into civil war." He added that this need not happen and stressed that ultimately it depends on the Iraqis more than on the US military.
"Shiite and Sunni are going to have to love their children more than they hate each other," Pace said, before the tensions can be overcome. "The weight of that must be on the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government."
US President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have steadfastly refused to call the situation in Iraq a civil war. However, Rumsfeld at a news conference on Wednesday acknowledged that the violence is increasing.
Talking to reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday as Bush flew to Texas, press secretary Tony Snow said that the generals had "reiterated something we've talked about on a number of occasions, which is the importance of securing Baghdad, which is why ... you're going to see more and more of a troop presence in Baghdad. ... Obviously, sectarian violence is a concern."
Asked specifically to state the White House's reaction to the statements about a possible civil war, Snow replied, "OK, well, I don't think the president is going to quibble with his generals on their characterizations."
The commanders' remarks come at a time when, thanks to the high level of violence in Baghdad, administration hopes have diminished of significantly reducing the US force in Iraq, which Rumsfeld said currently totals 133,000.
also see stories:
Iraqi youth rally behind Hezbollah
As civil war looms, US left with few options
Rumsfeld grilled by US senators over handling of Iraq
NOVEMBER ELECTIONS: The KMT urged the CECC to exclude Taiwanese from the arrivals cap, as they would lose their right to vote if they could not return by July 26 The COVID-19-related border control measures and the cap on the number of international arrivals are not being eased, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported 112 imported cases of the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is CECC spokesperson, said a meeting was held yesterday morning in which the Cabinet decided that current border control measures would remain in place. He said the main considerations were global COVID-19 cases increasing 21 percent last week, imported cases of Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 continuing to be detected
Samsung Electronics Co yesterday commenced mass production of 3-nanometer chips that are more powerful and efficient than predecessors, beating rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) to a key milestone in the race to build the most advanced chips in the world. South Korea’s largest company said in a statement that it was beginning with 3-nanometer semiconductors for high-performance and specialized low-power computing applications before expanding to mobile processors. By applying so-called Gate-All-Around transistor architecture, Samsung’s 3-nanometer products reduce power consumption by up to 45 percent and improve performance by 23 percent compared with 5-nanometer chips, it said. Samsung’s push to be first
Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung (張學友) has been criticized by the “Little Pink” — a term used to describe young, jingoistic Chinese nationalists on the Web — for saying “Hong Kong jia you [加油, an expression of encouragement].” To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule on Friday, China Central Television made a series of programs in which it interviewed Cheung and other celebrities. Cheung, speaking in Cantonese, said in the interview that “Hong Kong has been through a lot in the past 25 years, including ups and downs” and ended with the phrase “Hong
‘STRONG SUPPORT’: Liberal International expressed concern over Chinese incursions into Taiwan’s airspace, saying they could undermine regional peace Liberal International on Saturday passed a “World Today Resolution” recognizing the threat that China poses to Taiwan, while supporting Taipei’s inclusion in international organizations. Liberal International was established in 1947 as a federation of liberal political parties from around the world. Last week, it held its 63rd congress in Sofia, Bulgaria, which was attended by 221 representatives from 58 countries. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), in her capacity as chairperson of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), delivered a speech in a pre-recorded video at the congress’ opening on Thursday. DPP spokeswoman Hsieh Pei-fen (謝佩芬) yesterday said the party, which has been a member of