CISAC civil war experts influence policy debate on Iraq

November's mid-term elections, in which Democrats won a majority in both houses of congress, were widely interpreted as a referendum on the administration's prosecution of the Iraq war. As public debate intensified over an anticipated change of course in Iraq, policymakers, commentators, and reporters turned to CISAC civil war experts James D. Fearon and David Laitin for insight into the current violence and possible outcomes. News media drew on Fearon's testimony before a house subcommittee in September, echoing his warning about the likely failure of an attempt to partition the country's land or resources among Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. Some news organizations announced a new policy to call the fighting in Iraq a civil war, citing the opinions of Fearon and Laitin. Laitin appeared on CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer to discuss the question of whehter Iraq is engaged in a civil war. Fearon discussed the question on NPR's On Point.