Outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has put the cat amongst the pigeons, by claiming that many Iraqis feel that life is even worse now than it was under Saddam Hussein.
During interview about Iraq with the BBC, Annan said:
"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 also said that many Iraqis must believe that life is even worse now, than it was under Saddam.
"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?"
Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, rejected the comments. His office said:
"Describing what is taking place in Iraq as a civil war beautifies the former regime which is known for its crimes against humanity."