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Saudi Foreign Minister Says Iraq Is In Civil War

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal (right) with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (file photo) (AFP) April 9, 2006 -- Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, today became the second senior Middle Eastern political figure in two days to call the violence in Iraq a civil war.

Prince Saud said the definition of civil war is that the people of a country are fighting each other and that, by that standard, Iraq must be seen as in being in a state of civil war. He said the Arab League must work to bring the Iraqi sides together to avoid what he called a "disaster" for the region.

Prince Saud's remarks to journalists came a day after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned that Iraq is in the throes of a civil war that threatens the entire Middle East.

Iraq "is not on the threshold [of civil war]. It has pretty much started," Mubarek said, adding that "I don't know how Iraq is going to get together again. The country is nearly destroyed.''

Mubarak's comments drew a sharp rebuke from Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari, who said on April 9 that the Egyptian president's remarks had upset the Iraqi people. Al-Ja'fari said Mubarak's language "astonished and discontented" the Iraqi government.


Sectarian Iraq

Sectarian Iraq

Click to enlarge the image.

SUNNI, SHI'A: Iraq is riven along sectarian lines, faults that frequently produce violent clashes and are a constant source of tension. Sectarian concerns drive much of Iraqi politics and are the main threat to the country's fragile security environment.

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: Click on the image to view RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.