WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2006 – Despite a recent increase in violence in Baghdad, Iraq is not on a path toward civil war, the commander of U.S. Central Command said yesterday. Army General John Abizaid recently visited Baghdad and talked with Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the highest-ranking military commander in Iraq, as well as Iraqi government officials. He also had the opportunity see the situation in Baghdad firsthand while moving around the city with coalition forces.
Abizaid said he left confident that progress is being made on the Baghdad security plan. "It's still too soon to say how the sectarian violence is going to be (a factor), but the early indications are that we've made some good progress against a lot of the ... killings that were going on in Baghdad," he said. "I don't see it moving toward civil war at this point."
Abizaid noted the Iraqi security forces in Baghdad, which outnumber coalition forces, are a combination of Iraqi military and police forces. "We're very satisfied with the performance of the military forces in Baghdad," he said. "The police forces still have a lot of work to do." The Iraqi minister of the interior acknowledges that some reforms are needed relatively quickly, Abizaid said. "But we believe we can move it in the right direction," he said