Iraq is now passing through a serious crisis, and those paying the price are the Iraqi people, particularly the most vulnerable among them.

Organized murder operations normally target citizen in poor and low-income and areas such as Sadr City, Falluja, Kirkuk, Hilla, Nahrawan, Baghdad Jadida and other impoverished Iraqi districts.

What is surprising is the fact that while violence targeting impoverished Iraqis is surging, there has been a slump in attacks against the occupying forces.

For those closely monitoring the Iraqi situation, the reason is clear. These bloody attacks targeting Iraqi civilians are meant to stoke sectarian strife and incite an armed struggle among the various sectors of Iraqi society.

We are at the threshold of the third stage in the post-U.S. invasion. According to well-informed Iraqi observers, this stage will see the various pro-U.S. factions turn their guns on each other, this time for control of the land and its natural resources, and as part of bid to undermine the country’s integrity.

Regional and international actors will inevitably have a larger role in this phase of the post-invasion, since no one in the region now fears the U.S., including of all the Iraqi parties which maintain their own militias.

Bogged down in an Iraqi quagmire of its own making, the United States seems powerless.

That is why, as this horrific scenario unfolds, there is nothing but more bloodshed in store for Iraqis. Signs of this impending scenario can already be seen:

-- Ongoing attacks on Sunni families in Shiite areas and vice versa

-- Ongoing attacks against Christian families, particularly in Baghdad, Mosul and Basra

-- The killing of over 80 Iraqis every day

-- The storming homes at midnight and the killing of their occupants

-- The use of names and identity cards to identify people on the basis if ethnic or sectarian affiliation, and then punishing or murdering them on that basis.

-- Dumping mutilated bodies on roadsides and residential areas

-- Using human corpses as booby traps

Do not all these actions suffice to signal that the Iraqi apocalypse is looming? And even worse is the impunity that the perpetrators enjoy.

That there is no justice to administer is evident. in Iraq, the U.S. troops themselves are above the law. There is no native authority in to hold them accountable for their actions, some of which are comparable to the above-mentioned signs of the impending Iraqi apocalypse.

And the government, mirroring the country’s sectarian and ethnic divisions, is also to blame.

Post-invasion Iraqi police, security and army do not owe their loyalty to the national flag, but to their own factions. It is therefore not surprising to hear of "squads of death" roaming Iraqi streets, while the Interior Ministry doesn't lift a finger to stop them.

But paradoxically, the ministry has the means to mobilize the forces to storm towns and cities it deems hostile.