Every time there is a humanitarian catastrophe, you hear the same promise There will be a seamless transition from humanitarian assistance to developmental assistance. In the end it never happens, because these agencies have to go on to put out the next fire, and there is simply not enough funding.
You need to convince the international community that there is a looming crisis before there are pictures of starving babies. What we're seeing, emergency after emergency, is that the international community does not get mobilized before there is an actual crisis.
One can date the beginning of a civil war only in retrospect. But when we see deliberate attacks on members of one community just because of who they are, and retaliatory attacks on members of another community, it is not a good sign.
Much more common and insidious in the contemporary world is a situation where central authority has disappeared and you have this kind of free for all. That is what we're seeing in Iraq, so yes, Iraq is in a state of civil war.
What I expect to happen is that the US will be very cautious in pushing for elections as soon as possible and particularly national level elections because it was quite clear that if democracy calls, the Islamists answer.
The policy of the Bush administration concerning democracy-building always proceeded along two tracks, with rhetoric that was somewhat far-reaching accompanied by the second level of actual diplomatic contacts with Arab countries, which have been very cautious.