3 Mar. Washington Post - U.S. General: Levels of Iraqi Sectarian Violence Exaggerated.

The top U.S. military commander in Iraq said today that the crisis following last month's mosque bombing north of Baghdad appears to have passed, and he asserted that the level of the ensuing sectarian violence has been exaggerated.

Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., commander of the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq, told Pentagon reporters by satellite hookup from Baghdad that insurgents had deliberately tried to "foment sectarian strife" with the mosque bombing, but that Iraqi security forces performed "generally well" in containing the situation

Although terrorists continue to threaten Iraq's stability, they "failed" to push the country into civil war with the mosque bombing, Casey said. He put the number of civilians killed in the sectarian violence following the attack at "about 350," a toll that he said was "unacceptable" but far lower than the 1,300 dead reported by morgue workers in Baghdad. Figures given by Iraqi government officials have ranged from about 380 to more than 1,000 killed during the few days after the bombing...