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A Shifting Enemy: U.S. Generals Say Civil War, Not Insurgency, Is Greatest Threat

In the fall of 2005, the generals running the Iraq war told the Senate Armed Services Committee that a gradual withdrawal of American troops from Iraq was imperative. The American troop presence, Gen. John P. Abizaid and Gen. George W. Casey Jr. said at the time, was stoking the insurgency, fostering dependency among the Iraqi security forces and proving counterproductive for what General Abizaid has called “The Long War” against Islamic radicalism.This week, General Abizaid, chief of the United States Central Command, told the same committee that American forces may be all that is preventing full-scale civil war in Iraq, so a phased troop withdrawal would be a mistake. What has changed, military experts and intelligence officials say, is that the insurgency of Baathists and foreign jihadists is no longer the greatest enemy the United States faces in Iraq. The biggest danger now, they say, is that violence between Shiites and Sunnis could destroy Iraq’s government and spill across the Middle East. Full Story

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