Baghdad street battle smacks of open civil war (Reuters)
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Snipers held rooftop positions as masked Sunni Arab insurgents said they were gearing up for another open street battle with pro-government Shiite militiamen in Baghdad's Adhamiya district on Tuesday.And, just of observational interest, compare the Reuters article above, written by Omar al-Ibadi, which paints a picture of open street warfare and civil war, to an earlier Reuters article on the same incident written by Micheal Georgy which doesn't includes the phrase "as Iraqi leaders struggle to form a unity government they hope can avert a sectarian civil war."
I think it's no coincidence that the first is apparently written by an Arab reporter with quotes from the participants, and the second is written by a westerner, constructed mainly from US military accounts.
When is a civil war officially a civil war? Who gets to decide?
UPDATE: They NYTimes is reporting that US forces have "sealed off" the Baghdad neighborhood of Adhamiya where this took place. "A spokesman for the American military said Monday evening that American troops had been active in Adhamiya but declined to give details." It looks like the "second liberation of Baghdad" may be proceeding a bit ahead of schedule.
Also, via Juan Cole, "Arabic sources such as Al-Zaman , al-Hayat and Aljazeera reported in such a way as to make it look like the brave stand of local (Sunni Arab) men against the predations of (Shiite) death squads masquerading as police."
UPDATE 2: From Knight-Ridder's incredible Tom Lasseter, (Long piece, but a fair amount of detail on the militias, their role and formation, and the US actions regarding them.)
BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. officials were warned for more than two years that Shiite Muslim militias were infiltrating Iraq's security forces and taking control of neighborhoods, but they failed to take action to counteract it, Iraqi and American officials said.(I know I've been doing alot more on Iraq lately, but I think we're at the critical point. Also today, the Shia block reformed in refusing to name another prime ministerial candidate besides Jaafari, while the Sunni/Secularist alignment appeared to break down.)