Despite a week of horrific violence in Iraq, President Bush reaffirmed on Friday his belief that the surge was working, while Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki insisted two days later that his country was not in a state of civil war. In the latest round of attacks Sunday, 70 people were killed, including 23 members of a religious minority.
Los Angeles Times:
The president said the number of sectarian attacks in the capital had declined by half since the stepped-up efforts began.
But Bush also said, “We have seen some of the highest casualty levels of the war.”
And he cautioned that as more troops arrive to conduct more military maneuvers, “we can expect the pattern to continue.”
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in Egypt to drum up support among Arab leaders for his Shiite-led government, told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that Iraq was not embroiled in a civil or sectarian war. Key Arab leaders pressured him to step up reconciliation efforts to include Sunni insurgents if he expects Arab support.
In the northern Iraq attack, armed men stopped the bus as it was carrying workers from a textile factory in Mosul to their hometown of Bashika, which has a mixed population of Christians and Yazidis—a primarily Kurdish sect that worships an angel figure considered to be the devil by some Muslims and Christians.