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'The worst of all worlds'
Biden, Lugar warn of civil war as Shiite unrest grows in Iraq.

After a weekend of escalating violence between radical Shiite Muslims and US-led coalition forces, which resulted in the deaths of more than some 60 people, two leading US senators have warned of the danger of civil war in Iraq. Senator Richard Lugar (R) of Indiana and Senator Joseph Biden (D) of Delaware, also said that it's time to have a debate about the Bush administration's proposed June 30 deadline for the handover of power from the US-led Iraqi Governing Council to the Iraq. The International Herald Tribune reports that Mr. Lugar also said more US troops may be needed.
"They're at a point in which clearly they can't control the situation," Lugar said [during an ABC interview]. "You have the militia that has not been disarmed, and if in fact the worst situation comes, the militia begin to fight each other, that is, civil war."


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On Fox News Sunday, Mr. Biden said there isn't enough security in Iraq, and that the US needs to "take the American face" off the occupation by allowing NATO to take a larger role there. He explained this position in more depth in a commentary in Sunday's Washington Post.  World Peace.

Biden also said that unless something was done about the situation in Iraq as soon as possible, the US will end up with "the worst of all worlds." In an interview later Sunday with The New York Times, he also questioned the process leading up to the June 30th deadline, and said that divisions exist in the Bush administration about the best course of action to follow.

"We're about to give over authority to an entity that we haven't identified yet, knowing that whatever that entity is, there's going to be overwhelming turmoil between June 30 and January, when there is supposed to be an election. Who is the referee? Who is the graybeard?" He added: "I predict to you I hope I'm wrong that your colleagues writing about this 10 years from now are going to look at 9/11 and they're going to look at 6/30. This administration as far as I can tell is at odds with itself, being pulled apart one portion saying, we're going to keep it under our tent, and the other half saying, let's give it to the UN"
The BBC reports that the White House is "heavily committed" to the June 30 date. Moving it back would "send a message to the American people that the situation in Iraq was out of control, only months before a presidential election." The Associated Press reports that late Sunday the White House said it would "stay the course" in Iraq.
"There are some that are doing everything they can to try to prevent" a June 30 transfer of sovereignty to an Iraqi government, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. "There are terrorists, there are some remnants of the former regime that are enemies of freedom and enemies of democracy, but democracy is taking root and we are making important progress," McClellan added. "We will not turn back from that effort."
Monday, new conflicts between Shiite radicals and the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority continued to flare up. Reuters says that two of its reporters saw US helicopters fire on targets in a mainly Shiite district of Baghdad district during new fighting with Shiite militiamen. AP reports that two American armored vehicles were seen burning, and an Iraqi man was seen running off with a heavy machine gun apparently taken from one of the vehicle. RTE, an Irish broadcaster, also reports that fierce fighting is taking place in two Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad.
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