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Rumsfeld: Iraq Must Take Over Security
Cat : New Cons
Date : 2006-10-23 18:10:03                      Reader : 282

and abuse of Iraq detainees in Abu- Ghraib. More over 80% of violence comes from foreign troops as British Leader said.

ABC News 23/10/2006

Rumsfeld: Iraq Must Take Over Security

By ROBERT BURNS AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON Oct 20, 2006 (AP)— The Iraqi government is going to have to take over its country's security "sooner rather than later," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Friday, as the violence there continued to escalate.

Rumsfeld said U.S. officials, including Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, are working with the Iraqi government to develop projections as to when they think they can pass off various pieces of responsibility. He provided no detail.

"The biggest mistake would be to not pass things over to the Iraqis, create a dependency on their part, instead of developing strength and capacity and competence," said Rumsfeld. "It's their country, they're going to have to govern it, they're going to have to provide security for it, and they're going to have to do it sooner rather than later. And that means they've got to take pieces of it as we go along."

Rumsfeld has made similar comments before about gradually turning control of the country from American forces to Iraqi authorities.

But Friday's remarks came less than three weeks before elections in which Democrats are threatening to recapture control of Congress. A leading issue in the campaign is the war, which is widely unpopular with voters. U.S. deaths have surpassed 2,780, and President Bush is under growing pressure from lawmakers of both parties to alter his policies.

The secretary also said military commanders will speak with Bush on Saturday to discuss the situation in Iraq, although he said such discussions are not unusual.

He also said the biggest mistake would be to not continue turning regions of the country over to the Iraqis, even if that means the U.S. has to go back and retake control because the Iraqis are overwhelmed.

In recent weeks, the security situation in Iraq has continued to spiral out of control. Shiite militia stormed police stations in Amarah Friday, seizing that southern Iraqi city. Bush noted he was scheduled to speak with U.S. commanders to determine if a change in tactics is necessary to combat the escalating violence.

Bush told The Associated Press that the situation is Iraq is "tough" and that the Iraqi government is going to have to deal firmly with the militias.

On Thursday the U.S. military acknowledged that the latest two-month operation to quell the violence had not met expectations and defense officials were rethinking their strategy there. There are currently 144,000 U.S. forces in Iraq.

Rumsfeld spoke to reporters at the conclusion of meetings with South Korea's defense minister, Yoon Kwang Ung, to discuss a number of issues. They included North Korea's recent nuclear test and the ongoing U.S. commitment to defend the region against a nuclear threat.


 
 
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