National Intelligence Estimate: Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence involving Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds is now a major threat
Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence has become the primary source of conflict in the war-ravaged nation and Iraqi leaders will be "hard-pressed to achieve sustained political reconciliation" in the next 18 months, according to a summary of the National Intelligence Estimate released Friday.
The report, which was distributed to Congress on Friday and on which President Bush received a briefing Thursday, calls on Iraqi sects -- Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds -- to make significant concessions to stabilize the country.
However, the summary, a nine-page declassified version of the 90-page report, makes no determination as to whether Iraq is in a civil war.
The summary said that "civil war" is too simple a moniker to describe the situation there because the violence includes "extensive Shia-on-Shia violence, al Qaeda [in Iraq] and Sunni insurgent attacks on coalition forces and widespread criminally motivated violence."
However, the term does accurately describe certain elements of the conflict, among them: "the hardening of ethno-sectarian identities, a sea change in the character of the violence, ethno-sectarian mobilization and population displacements," according to the summary.
Combating the increasing sectarian violence is a "daunting" task, the summary says, because Shiites are insecure about their hold on power after decades of Sunni hegemony in the social, political and economic realms.
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