"Anyone in Baghdad this morning could have been forgiven for thinking the country was on the verge of civil war.
"Three Iraqi Army battalions had surrounded the town of Madaen, just south of the capital, where Sunni kidnappers were said to be threatening to kill hundreds of Shiite hostages unless all Shiites left the town. As the national assembly met, Iraq's top political figures warned of a grave sectarian crisis."
"But in Madaen, there were only streets full of people calmly sipping tea in cafés and going about their business. There were no armed Sunni mobs, no cowering Shiite victims. After hours of careful searches, the soldiers assisted by air surveillance found no evidence of any kidnappings or refugees at all."
WagNews: Another bid to hype up civil war falls flat. Ordinary Iraqis know full well that their 'leaders' are trying the divide and conquer gambit:
Reuters -Some people said U.S. forces made up the story for an excuse to raid Madaen after rebel attacks on U.S. convoys.
"It is all lies. Instead of fighting terrorism the government is just making things up. What we need are jobs," said Abu Zahra, a 35-year-old labourer standing with other workers hoping to get menial jobs for about $5 a day.