As he prepares to leave office after 10 years, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke to the BBC about his sorrow at not being able to prevent the war in Iraq, and described the violence there as “much worse” than civil war.
Asked by the BBC’s Lyse Doucet whether the situation in Iraq could now be classified as a civil war, Mr Annan pointed to the level of “killing and bitterness” and the way forces in Iraq are now ranged against each other.
“A few years ago, when we had the strife in Lebanon and other places, we called that a civil war. This is much worse.
“We have a very worrisome situation in the broader Middle East,” Mr Annan said, linking the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Lebanon with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and tensions over Iran.
“If I were an average Iraqi obviously I would make the same comparison, that they had a dictator who was brutal but they had their streets, they could go out, their kids could go to school and come back home without a mother or father worrying, ‘Am I going to see my child again?’