Civilian casualties in Iraq rose by 50% during the last three months, according to a report released by the Pentagon. The report on security and stability in Iraq examined the sectarian violence that grips the country, saying ?Conditions that could lead to civil war exist in Iraq? but that the fighting does not meet the ?strict? definition of a civil war.
New York Times:
As a consequence of the rising violence, the number of Iraqi casualties ? civilian and well as military ?jumped to almost 120 a day. Further, the confidence of Iraqis in the future has diminished, according to public opinion surveys cited in the Pentagon report. Still, the study asserts that the fighting in Iraq does not meet the ?strict? legal definition of a civil war.
The period of the study does not cover either a surge in bloody attacks during the past week nor a relatively low number of civilian casualties earlier in the month.
The assessment provides bad news on a variety of fronts.
It said that Al Qaeda is active despite the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, because of the group?s ?cellular structure,? that the Sunni insurgency is strong and that militias are undiminished.
The Pentagon distributed the report on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend, a common time for government officials to put out bad news. A Pentagon officials denied that this was the intent and said the report was issued when it completed.