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Iraqis, Not Coalition, Must Defeat Insurgents, Rumsfeld Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2005 – "In the last analysis it will be the Iraqi people that will defeat the insurgency, not the coalition," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters here March 29.

Speaking at a Pentagon press briefing with Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Marine Gen. Peter Pace at his side, Rumsfeld's statement was part of his response to a reporter's query on what options the United States possessed in ending the insurgency in Iraq.

The secretary said he didn't "see a lot of options to end the insurgency" in Iraq, but instead envisioned "steps that one needs to take that will reduce the insurgency."

Iraqi leaders continue their work to establish a new, democratic government. Meanwhile, ongoing military, political, economic and other types of assistance provided to Iraq by the United States and coalition nations, Rumsfeld observed, "is going to create an environment that's hospitable to the Iraqi people's success."

When the Iraqi people fully realize they have a voice and a stake in their nation's affairs, Rumsfeld noted, then that event "should have the effect of reducing the insurgency."

And a recovering Iraqi economy that produces more jobs, he said, should also contribute to "reducing support for the insurgency and increasing support for the Iraqi government."

Rumsfeld also noted that the training and fielding of well-led Iraqi counterinsurgency forces also "contributes to reducing the insurgency."

There are "a lot of things right now," Pace pointed out, that make you hopeful about the way ahead in Iraq."

Asked about reports that Iraqi leaders are negotiating with some insurgency chiefs, Rumsfeld replied: "That's up to the Iraqi people" and "they're going to have to make those judgments."

The Iraqi people, the secretary concluded, are going to have to decide through their government "what is the limit to their tolerance for embracing people back into the Iraqi community."

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