LONDON (Reuters) -Iraq is in a state of civil war and is nearing the point of no return when the country’s sectarian violence will spill over throughout the Middle East, former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said on Sunday.
Three years after the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein, Iraq is in turmoil with a raging insurgency and a surge in sectarian bloodletting between Sunni Arabs and majority Shi’ite Muslims.
“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,” he told BBC television.
There are 133,000 U.S. troops and 8,000 British soldiers in Iraq trying to maintain security and train local security forces to keep a lid on the violence. Both countries reject claims Iraq has already slid into civil war.
“Iraq is in the middle of a crisis. Maybe we have not reached the point of no return yet. But we are moving toward this point. We are in a terrible civil conflict now,” Allawi said.
He said that if Iraq were to crumble, sectarian violence would spread throughout the Middle East with Europe and the United States also feeling the impact.