Iraqis Fulfilling Their Promises, Pace Says
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
CANBERRA, Australia, Feb. 12, 2007 The Iraqi government is doing everything it promised to do under President Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s new strategy, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.
Pace is visiting U.S. Pacific Command areas this week.
When Bush put forward the new strategy in January, he said much of it was predicated on the Iraqi government coming through with their pledges.
“They said they would have three brigades of their army to plus-up the current number in Baghdad,” Pace said. “The first of those brigades is already there, the second and third are on their way.”
This is in direct contrast to the summer of 2006, when the government promised two brigades for Operation Together Forward and none showed up.
Maliki promised to appoint unbiased, balanced commanders in Baghdad, Pace said. The commander Maliki appointed has proven to be a good leader with a balanced approach to mixed neighborhoods, as well as Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods.
Maliki promised to lead in a way that would appeal to all sects in Iraq, and he is doing that, Pace said. “He has been out speaking about the need to take action against criminals regardless of sect. And he has had those speeches in front of parliament, and the parliament has voted to approve the plan,” Pace said.
“To date, everything that was supposed to have been delivered by the Iraqi government has been, and as long as we continue on this path and we continue to help them, we should be optimistic about the opportunity in Baghdad to lessen the violence,” Pace said.
Iraqi forces are showing a balanced approach in the capital. The government troops took on both Sunni insurgents and Shiite militiamen in recent operations. “They are effective when they are in combat, and we should continue to support them,” Pace said.