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Al Qaeda Takes Hits in Iraq, But Still Dangerous, Bush Says

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2007 – The United States has dealt al Qaeda many significant blows in Iraq and elsewhere, President Bush said here today.

Military gains against al Qaeda are encouraging, but the situation cannot be won militarily, and that is why the U.S. continues to work with the Iraqi government on reconciliation and political development, Bush said at a White House news conference.

“We’re making progress, … but I fully understand those that say we can’t win this thing militarily,” Bush said. “That’s exactly what the United States military says. That’s why it’s very important that we continue to work with the Iraqis on economic progress as well as political progress.”

Bush noted that reconciliation is happening at the local level in Iraq, as people realize they can make a better future for themselves. This local reconciliation eventually will affect the national government, he said. Meanwhile, the United States is encouraging the Iraqi government to pass important legislation to move the country forward.

When asked about the possibility of the Turkey parliament approving military action against Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq, Bush said that he and commanders on the ground agree that such a move would not be in Turkey’s interest. The Iraqi government understands that this is a sensitive issue, he said, and the Iraqi vice president is in Turkey today to assure leaders there that Iraq shares their concerns about terrorism, but that there’s a better way to fight it.

During Bush’s news conference, media outlets reported that the Turkish parliament voted to approve the military action.

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