YWT: "...the violence will gather its own momentum."
STEPHEN FRAZIER: Now to a troubling report on the spiraling death toll in Iraq. The United Nations is saying that insurgent attacks killed almost 4,000 Iraqi civilians last month. And to put that in perspective, that is much higher than the number of U.S. troops killed during the entire war.
Let's bring in Michael Ware in Baghdad, who is just all too familiar with this kind of violence.
What is driving this now, Michael?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Stephen, what's behind this? And you're right to point out what the United Nations is saying is that in the past month, more Iraqi civilians died in that month than any other since the U.S. invasion in 2003. It's saying its civilian deaths are ever increasing. When you add it on the back of the U.N.'s last report, that's 13,500 people in just four months.
Now, the U.N. cites this as a result of terrorism and sectarian violence. It also notes that revenge is increasingly a factor as each sect, Sunni and Shia, responds accordingly.
This is starting to fit closer and closer to U.S. military intelligence definitions of civil war, where they said the violence will gather its own momentum. I think the U.N. is starting to reflect that.
It also pointed to disruption of entire communities to varying degrees, with whole neighborhoods displaced. This again touches upon what people here on the ground, Iraqis enduring this, prefer to call a form of ethnic cleansing.
The U.N. also noted that professionals and educators are being targeted. The educational system of Iraq has been disrupted.
So this very much is a tragic time for the Iraqi people.
FRAZIER: So, clearly, Michael, this will be coming up when President Bush meets with Prime Minister al-Maliki in Jordan at this conference that they're planning. Are you getting any advanced read on specific measures that might be discussed to try and stem this civilian violence?
WARE: No, not at this stage. What we do know from the joint statement from both the Iraqi prime minister and President Bush is that the meeting to take place just in a week from now in Amman, Jordan, will focus on the progress of the war three years on, on the transfer of security responsibility to the Iraqi government, and perhaps tellingly the role of regional players in supporting Iraq.
Beyond that, there's no specifics. But those three agenda items alone are weighty enough. And all of which play into the level of civilian violence and the sectarian killings.
FRAZIER: And that reference to regional players, of course, Michael, Iran and Syria, the new -- the big new players in that deal.
Thank you for those insights.
Michael Ware from Baghdad.