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Rumsfeld: Solution to Iraq Violence Will Be Political

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, July 12, 2006 – The solution to ending violence in Iraq will be the development of the national ministries and a reconciliation plan that includes all ethnic groups, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today.

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Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld speaks to troops at Camp Anaconda, in Balad, Iraq, July 12. Photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew Oquendo, USAF

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Terrorists' hope to start civil war, make Iraq a failed state they can take over, and gain more economic power in the country by affecting the political process, Rumsfeld explained to a group of servicemembers at a town hall meeting at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, in Balad.

The solution to this problem is not military, he said, but can be found in the development of a sound government that includes all Iraqis. Rumsfeld said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is reaching out to the country's Sunni community "in an attempt to fashion a reconciliation process that will bring together the elements of this country."

At a news conference here following Rumsfeld's meeting with Maliki and his Cabinet, Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qader echoed Rumsfeld's sentiments, saying that security in Iraq is the responsibility of all citizens and will come from a political solution. The Iraqi government, along with its coalition partners, is working on developing political plans that can be backed up by military action, Qader said.

Rumsfeld told reporters on the plane headed to Iraq that he does not know what the reconciliation plan will look like, but the U.S. will give full support to the Iraqi government as it develops the plan.

"They're going to have to persuade as many people as possible that it's in their interest to support the government and participate in the political process," he said. "Anyone that doesn't want to, they're going to have to go find and do something about."

The security situation in Iraq now depends largely on the reconciliation process and the strength of the national ministries, Rumsfeld said on the plane. Iraq does not yet have a large army, navy or air force to keep insurgents at bay, so developing a strong national infrastructure is critical, he said. Iraq still needs to develop its ministries of planning, finance and oil, and develop a strong justice system, he said.

"The success in these areas will determine the success from a security standpoint," he said.

Rumsfeld acknowledged Iraqi leaders have a challenge ahead in developing political structure for Iraq. But, he said, they have made a good start and will have U.S. support as they forge ahead.

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