Just off the wires from Iraq:
The sectarian cleansing that drove 68-year-old Abbas al-Saiedi from his home may be as alarming a sign of a country on the brink of civil war as the killings that have swept Iraq in the past week…….
Al-Saiedi’s story, a tale of fear and desperation told to The Associated Press on Wednesday, represents a growing phenomenon of religious cleansing in which members of each Muslim sect are driving the others from neighborhoods where they have long lived side by side.
The practice, which has been going on for some time in neighborhoods south of Baghdad, is a barometer of the degree to which the Shiites and Sunnis have moved on the path to civil war. The number of incidents cannot be fully gauged, but is not yet at the level of mass expulsions of the kind that took place in the Balkans during the civil war there in the 1990s.
For their part, Sunnis have long-standing claims of attacks by Shiite-dominated and, some say, government-linked death squads and eviction from homes in the very neighborhoods now being occupied by Shiites displaced from Sunni areas.