On a day when more than 50 people were killed in Iraq, the UN Secretary-General has warned that the country is at risk of descending into civil war. Kofi Annan was speaking in New York at an international conference for Iraq, attended by the country’s president Jalal Talabani, who insists the government’s security plan is showing signs of success.
But the warning from Annan was stark. “There is a grave danger that the Iraqi state will break down, possibly in the midst of a full-scale civil war,” he said.
Monday was a particularly violent day in Iraq. In the worst bloodshed, more than 20 people were killed in a bombing at a market in Tal Afar, north of Baghdad. Earlier, west of the capital, 13 people were killed in a suicide attack in Ramadi. Annan’s warning comes ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, when a further upsurge in violence is feared.