US media houses say sectarian violence has engulfed Iraq.
“We have to accept what all Iraqis accept, not to end up seeing a Shia-dominated regime”
Colin Powell, former US secretary of state
Bush had denied on Tuesday that sectarian violence in Iraq had reached the scale of civil war. He said the latest wave of violence was part of a nine-month-old pattern of attacks by al-Qaeda fighters aimed at fomenting sectarian tension.
Bush is under growing pressure to find a new policy to curb sectarian strife in Iraq and to secure an exit for 140,000 US troops.
Powell, speaking at a world leaders forum in Dubai, said Washington should adopt a more balanced policy towards Iraq‘s political parties and sects to avoid marginalising Sunni Muslims.
“We have to accept what all Iraqis accept, not to end up seeing a Shia-dominated regime,” he said.
However, Powell said troops had to continue their job in Iraq until their mission is done, but not to remain too long.
“The coming strategy has to be an Iraqi strategy, not American strategy.”
Powell outlined the case against Iraq at the UN Security Council in the run-up to the war, which was based broadly on unfounded intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.