New York Times - BAGHDAD, IRAQ — Kofi Annan, the U.N. secretary-general, said Sunday that Iraq has descended into a civil war that is even deadlier and more anarchic than the 15-year sectarian bloodshed that tore apart Lebanon.
"When we had the strife in Lebanon and other places, we called that a civil war; this is much worse," Annan said in an interview with the BBC.
In making his remarks, Annan joined a growing number of foreign and Iraqi leaders, policymakers and news organizations who say that Iraq is in the grip of civil war.
Last week, Annan suggested conducting an international conference on Iraq that would include all major political groups and representatives from around the region.
In Baghdad on Sunday, President Jalal Talabani rejected the call, saying Iraqis were working to stanch the bloodshed on their own.
"We have an ongoing political process and a council of representatives that is the best in the region," Talabani said in a written statement.
"We became an independent sovereign state and we decide the issues of the country."
In addition to Annan, a number of American advisers have suggested that the U.S. and Iraq should hold a conference that would bring together all the countries in the region to try to re-establish stability in Iraq.
Such a meeting might include Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia, all accused by various U.S. and Iraqi leaders of fomenting violence here.
On Saturday, a powerful Shiite leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, also rejected Annan's call for a conference.
Al-Hakim is scheduled to meet with President Bush in Washington today to discuss the rapid deterioration of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki's government.
A Saudi aggression fighter jet targeted a citizen's car driving in Fara area of Kutaf district in Saada province overnight, killing the driver and injuring his friend, a security official said on Monday.
Scores of Saudi enemy soldiers were killed and injured on Sunday when the army and popular forces repelled a Saudi military attempt to sneak into Shurfah site in the border province of Najran, a military official said.
The operation was accomplished successfully against the Saudi
Saudi aggression warplanes have launched more than 49 airstrikes over the past hours on several residential areas across Yemen, a security official said on Sunday.
The airstrikes targeted the areas of Malahiz and Husama in Dhahir district, and areas Thuban, Masahif and Sdad in Bakim district of northern Saada province.