London, Asharq Al-Awsat- As Iraq marked the third anniversary of the US-led invasion, former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi warned on Sunday the country had already plunged into a sectarian civil war. But other political and military officials did not share his pessimistic analysis and said Iraq was a long way from a broad civil war, nor was one imminent or inevitable, despite the spiraling sectarian violence between Shiaa and Sunni.
The head of the Iraqi National List, a secular nationalist alliance made up of Sunnis and Shiaa, said, “”It is unfortunate that we are in civil war. We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more. “”If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.”
Speaking on BBC TV’s Sunday AM program, he said it would be a mistake to underplay Iraq’s problems, although the country was “edging towards” a political deal.
Allawi said he had warned against creating a vacuum in the country and raised concerns about the insurgents and the dismantling of the military.
Allwai, however said, the situation in Iraq could still be contained. But, if allowed to continue, the country would fragment and the aftershocks of this would rattle even the US and Europe , he added.
“Maybe we have not reached the point of no return yet, but we are moving towards this point. It will not only fall apart, but sectarianism will spread throughout the region — and even Europe and the US will not be spared of the violence that may occur due to the sectarian problems in this region.”
In an interview with Asharq al Awsat from his office in Baghdad , Allawi said, “Civil war in Iraq is a reality and the situation is very bad”, Allawi said. Iraq needed quick action to save the situation, the first of which should be “the formation of a government of true national unity with a clear national program” and putting an end to “sectarian tendencies and the presence of unregulated armed militias and the sectarian quota system in all government departments, especially the security services”.
Allawi, who headed the first Iraqi government after the US led invasion, warned that civilians were being killed on a daily basis and that Shiaa and Sunni families were leaving mixed areas. “The country should not be moving in this backward direction”, he sad.
However, the US and UK have repeatedly denied that Iraq was in a state of civil war. U.S Vice President Dick Cheney told CBS television that attempts by insurgents to foment civil war had failed and expressed his faith that Americans will “succeed”.
“I think we are going to succeed in Iraq . I think the evidence is overwhelming,” he said.