The Los Angeles Times reports: Less than a year and a half after the last U.S. troops left, Iraq’s political leaders are openly debating the prospect of two dangerous paths for their country: de facto division or civil war. Perhaps both.
Tension between the Shiite majority, now in control of the levers of power, and the Sunni Arab minority, which dominated under Saddam Hussein, has been building for months. But politicians on all sides agree that the country has entered a perilous new phase, highlighted in late April by an attack on a Sunni protest camp by security forces that killed at least 45 people.
As word of the shootings spread, fighting erupted around the country, leaving more than 200 people dead. Overall, the United Nations said, more than 700 people were killed in Iraq in April, the highest monthly toll in five years.
Polarized political leaders openly discuss the threat of more bloodshed and the gradual breakup of the country, either through an informal declaration of an independent Sunni Arab region, modeled on the Kurds’ region in northern Iraq, or outright war. [Continue reading…]