Iraqi Civil War
"It's just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We've been in a civil war for a long time," said Pat Lang, the former top Middle East intelligence official at the Pentagon.
Other experts said Iraq is on the verge of a full-scale civil war with civilians on both sides being slaughtered. Incidents in the past two weeks south of Baghdad, with apparently retaliatory killings of Sunni and Shia civilians, point in that direction, they say.
Also of concern were media accounts that hard-line Shia militia members are being deployed to police hard-line Sunni communities such as Ramadi, east of Baghdad, which specialists on Iraq said was a recipe for disaster.
"I think we are really on the edge" of all-out civil war, said Noah Feldman, a New York University law professor who worked for the U.S. coalition in Iraq.