President of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region Massoud Barzani  criticized Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ’s military intervention in the western Anbar province, warning against an all-out sectarian war erupting in the country. Barzani said the security situation was deteriorating in Anbar, adding that the Iraqi government’s methods of resorting to military intervention will further complicate the situation.
The violence in Anbar, which began on Dec. 30 with the removal of a Sunni Arab anti-government protest camp, has killed more than 250 people -- the worst unrest to hit the province in years.
Barzani said that the central government must seriously consider citizens’ demands and respect the people’s will. He added that war must not transform from one against terrorism into a sectarian-fuelled fight between Sunnis and Shiites. Meanwhile, fighting between Anbar tribes and al-Qaeda-linked militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group continue for the third week.
Last week, Human Rights Watch  condemned abuses by all sides in the standoff in Anbar which has displaced 13,000 families.
It criticized Iraqi forces for using what it alleged was indiscriminate mortar fire in civilian neighborhoods, and militants for deploying in and attacking from populated areas.