Saudi Arabia warned yesterday that the situation in Iraq is moving "toward disintegration," with a growing danger that the country will dissolve into a civil war that will draw its neighbors into a broader regional conflict.
During a visit to Washington, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Faisal told reporters that his government has also warned the Bush administration of the dangers of Iraq's unraveling because of tensions between rival ethnic and religious groups, which he said were never as bad during former President Saddam Hussein's rule as they are today.
"The impression is gradually going toward disintegration. There seems to be no dynamic now that is pulling the country together. All the dynamics there are pushing the [Iraqi] people away from each other," Faisal said.
As a result, Iraq is now a "very threatening" challenge undermining stability throughout the Middle East. "It will draw the countries of the region into conflict. That is the main worry of all the neighbors of Iraq," he said.
Faisal warned that Iraq's further disintegration would also bring Shiite-dominated Iran more directly into support for Iraq's Shiite majority, while Turkey would "not allow" a Kurdish country to emerge on its border. It would also divide Iraq into three parts, all of which would vie for control of the oil resources.
-- Robin Wright