2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 16, 2006
Civil war? NEWS IN BRIEF
Iraq (civil war) is no longer
a matter of definition'
BAGHDAD (AP) - Deep within
the Pentagon, they're trying to piece
together a picture of an Iraqi civil
war. What would it look like? Donald
Here on the streets of Baghdad, it
looks like hell.
Corpses, coldly executed, are turn-
ing up by the minibus-load. Mortar
shells are casually lobbed into rival
neighborhoods. Car bombs are killing
people wholesale, while assassins hunt
them down one by one.
Is it civil war? "In Iraq it is no lon-
ger a matter of definition - 'civil war'
or 'war' or 'violence' or 'terrorism.' It
is all of the above," said one familiar
with all of the above, Beirut scholar-
politician Farid Khazen, a witness to
Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.
Phebe Marr, a historian of Iraq, hesi-
tates to put a name to what's happening
today, a chaotic mix of anti-U.S. resis-
tance, Sunni-Shiite communal bloodshed,
Islamic-extremist terrorism. "But it's civil
strife," said the Washington-based Marr,
"and it's getting extremely serious."
It's only a term from a dictionary,
defined as a war between opposing
groups of citizens of the same country.
But once media headlines begin refer-
ring to the "Iraq civil war," it will mark
not only an escalation of vocabulary,
but of international concern.
Some aren't ready for the label. "It's
not a state of civil war yet, but we're on
the verge of it," said Baghdad political
writerJabir al-Jabari. "Iraq is in the first
steps toward civil war," agreed Bassem
al-Sheik, editor in chief of Baghdad's
Rumsfeld said in Washington on Tues-
day he doesn't believe a civil war has
begun here, but intelligence analysts are
"'trying to look for a way to characterize
what are the ingredients of a civil war,
and how would you know if there was
one, and what it would look like."
Specialists might tell them not to waste
their time: Iraq was there long ago.
"By the standard that political sci-
entists use, there's been a civil war
going on in Iraq since sovereignty
was handed over to the interim gov-
ernment in 2004," said Stanford
University's James Fearon, who has
done detailed studies of modern
One threshold political scientists
use is a casualty toll of 1,000 dead,
"and this conflict is Way over that,"
Fearon said. Besides the more than
2,000 U.S. dead here, at least 33,000
Iraqi civilians have been killed since
2003, says the British anti-war group
Iraq Body Count, whose count, drawn
from media reports, does not subdi-
vide the deaths into categories.
American military analyst Stephen
Biddle says U.S. policy-makers make a
mistake if they "miss the nature of the
conflict, which in Iraq is already a civil
war between rival ethnic and sectar-
ian groups." Washington should work
to broker a peace by allocating power
Iraqi army soldiers escort Shiltes walking toward Karbala, Iraq from Najaf, Iraq yesterday
to participate in a ceremony marking the fortieth day of the death of Imam al-Hussein.
and resources - that is, oil revenues
- along those same lines, said Biddle,
of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Marr, author of the 1985 book
"The Modern History of Iraq," takes
a long view and sees revolution
where others see civil war.
With the 2003 U.S. invasion, she said,
"we have brought about two revolutions
in Iraq." One was a change of leader-
ship, the toppling of President Saddam
Hussein. The second is a revolution in
the nature of the Iraqi state: Will it sur-
vive, or break up into separate Shiite,
Sunni and Kurdish entities?
"We occupied the country and not
only removed Saddam, but the institu-
tions and the underpinnings of govern-
ment - the Baath party and the elite that
ran the country, and the military - leav-
ing a huge political vacuum," she said.
Political scientist Khazen, reached
by telephone in Beirut, said he saw
striking parallels between Iraq and the
devastating Lebanese civil war of a
generation ago - but differences, too.
Saddam to Iraqis: Fight Americans
Saddam Hussein, testifying yesterday for the first time in his trial, called
on Iraqis to stop killing each other and instead fight U.S. troops. The judge
reprimanded him for making a rambling, political speech and ordered the
TV cameras switched off.
Saddam began his speech by declaring he was the elected president, touch-
ing off a shouting match with chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman.
"You used to be a head of state. You are a defendant now," Abdel-Rahman told him.
Saddam, dressed in a black suit and wearing large reading glasses, repeat-
edly brushed off the judge's demands that he address the charges against
him - the killing of 148 Shiites and the imprisonment and torture of others
during a crackdown in the 1980s.
Instead, he read from a prepared text, addressing the "great Iraqi people"
- a phrase he often used in his presidential speeches - and said he was
"pained" by the recent wave of Sunni-Shiite violence.
"Let the people unite and resist the invaders and their backers. Don't fight among
yourselves," he said, praising the insurgency.
Dubai company details plans to sell U.S. ports
A Dubai-owned company announced yesterday it will sell all its U.S.
port operations within four to six months to an American buyer, providing
new details about its sales plans that were forced by congressional concerns
over terrorism security.
Lawmakers who criticized the Bush administration for approving DP World's
earlier plans to operate in the United States said they were satisfied. Still, the House
voted 377-38 yesterday to formally express its opposition to DP World running any
port terminals in America.
DP World, the world's third-largest ports company, said that until the sale
is finalized its U.S. businesses will operate independently. The announce-
ment was the first time it described its plans for the newly acquired U.S.
operations as a "sale" to a single, unrelated American buyer and indicated
it would retain no stake.
World Trade Center rebuilding talks stall
State officials walked away from negotiations with the developer of the World
Trade Centef site after the two sides failed to come to terms over who should control
the building of the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower at ground zero.
They also couldn't agree on how to split billions of dollars in rebuilding money.
The dispute threatens to hold up the entire project.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the trade center site,
wants to take over construction of the tower, saying it fears developer Larry Silver-
stein could run out of money before finishing the job. The agency has proposed to
leave Silverstein in charge of the smaller office buildings planned at the site.
Talks broke down Tuesday night after officials said Silverstein asked for too many
financial concessions in return. Silverstein held the $3.2 billion lease on the World
Trade Center complex before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
PISMO BEACH, Calif
Gunman kills two in California restaurant
A gunman opened fire inside a crowded Denny's restaurant during lunch
hour yesterday, killing two people and wounding two before taking his own
life, police said.
"There could have been 30 or 40 people inside. As the shootings occurred, peo-
ple were fleeing the restaurant, hiding in bathrooms," Cmdr. Jeff Norton said.
Police Chief Joe Cortez said authorities have not found any connection between
the gunman and the victims, and it does not appear he had a grudge against Den-
ny's or its employees.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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