Belfast Telegraph 
May 3, 2013
Iraqi leaders fear that the country is sliding rapidly into a new civil war which “will be worse than Syria”.
Baghdad residents are stocking up on rice, vegetables and other foodstuffs in case they are prevented from getting to the shops by fighting or curfews. “It is wrong to say we are getting close to a civil war,” said a senior Iraqi politician. “The civil war has already started.”
This is borne out by the sharp rise in the number of people killed in political violence in Iraq in April, with the UN claiming more than 700 people were killed last month, the highest monthly total for five years.
The situation has suddenly deteriorated since the killing of at least 36 Sunni Arab protesters at a sit-in in Hawijah on 23 April. An observer in Baghdad, who did not want to be named, said “ever since, Hawijah people are frightened of a return to the massacres of 2006”. She added that Sunni and Shia were avoiding going into each others’ areas. Signs of deteriorating security are everywhere. Al-Qa’ida showed its reach on Monday when five car bombs blew up in overwhelmingly Shia southern Iraq, leaving 21 dead. The Sunni fundamentalist group, which had a resurgence in 2012, is responsible for killing a majority of the almost 1,500 Iraqis who have died in political violence so far this year.