It’s Civil War, Mates

From Holden:

The outgoing British ambassador to Iraq announces the failure of Chimpy’s Vanity War.

Iraq is more likely to slide into civil war than turn into a democracy, Britain’s outgoing ambassador to Baghdad wrote in a leaked diplomatic cable, the BBC reported on Thursday.

William Patey’s final cable from Baghdad gives a far more pessimistic assessment for prospects in Iraq than Britain has disclosed in public. It warns of the prospect of Shi’ite militia forming a “state within a state”, like Hizbollah in Lebanon.

“The prospect of a low intensity civil war and a de facto division of Iraq is probably more likely at this stage than a successful and substantial transition to a stable democracy,” he wrote, according to excerpts quoted by the BBC.

“Even the lowered expectation of President (George W.) Bush for Iraq — a government that can sustain itself, defend itself and govern itself and is an ally in the war on terror — must remain in doubt,” said the cable, sent to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Describing the main Shi’ite militia, he wrote: “If we are to avoid a descent into civil war and anarchy then preventing the (Mehdi Army) from developing into a state within a state, as Hizbollah has done in Lebanon, will be a priority.”