Iraq situation 'much worse' than civil war, Annan says

(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-05 07:51

The current situation in Iraq is "much worse" than civil war, the outgoing United Nations secretary-general said in an interview with BBC broadcast yesterday.

Calling the situation "extremely dangerous," Kofi Annan said that the international community must help the country to rebuild because he is uncertain Iraq can accomplish it on its own.

"Given the level of violence, the level of killing and bitterness and the way that forces are arranged against each other, a few years ago, when we had the strife in Lebanon and other places, we called that a civil war; this is much worse," Annan said.

Last week, when asked by reporters if Iraq was in civil war, Annan whose second five-year term as secretary-general ends December 31 said "almost."

"I think given the developments on the ground, unless something is done drastically and urgently to arrest the deteriorating situation, we could be there. In fact we are almost there," he said last week.

During the interview with the BBC world service, Annan agreed when it was suggested that some Iraqis believe life is worse now than it was under Saddam Hussein's regime.

"I think they are right in the sense of the average Iraqi's life," Annan said. "If I were an average Iraqi, obviously I would make the same comparison, that they had a dictator who was brutal but they had their streets, they could go out, their kids could go to school and come back home without a mother or father worrying, 'Am I going to see my child again?'

"And the Iraqi Government has not been able to bring the violence under control. The society needs security and a secure environment for it to get on without security not much can be done not recovery or reconstruction."

US helicopter down

One Marine was killed and three servicemen were missing after a US helicopter with 16 people on board made an emergency landing on water in western Iraq on Sunday, the US military said yesterday.

It said the Ch-46 twin-rotor Sea Knight, the Marine version of the Chinook, was carrying 16 personnel including the crew when it came down in the volatile Anbar province, heartland of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.

Residents of Haditha, 250 kilometres northwest of Baghdad, said it came down in a lake, which had been sealed off by US forces.

"Thirteen passengers were accounted for yesterday. During search and rescue operations, one Marine was recovered from the water, but attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful," the military said in a statement.

It said three servicemen were still missing.

"The incident does not appear to be a result of enemy action and is currently under investigation," it said.

(China Daily 12/05/2006 page7)

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