White House Fingers al Qaeda in Iraq Violence, Vows to Accelerate PM Authority :  Published December 2006 All Rights Reserved


White House Fingers al Qaeda in Iraq Violence, Vows to Accelerate PM Authority

One of the most important jobs of Iraq Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is to provide security for the Iraqi people, President George W Bush said from Amman, Jordan, on 30 November 2006.

"Part of the Prime Minister's frustration is, is that he doesn't have the tools necessary to take care of those who break the law," President Bush said.

"I was reassured by his commitment to a pluralistic society that is politically united, and a society in which people are held to account if they break the law -- whether those people be criminals, al Qaeda, militia, whoever," the president added.

During a joint press conference Iraq's Prime Minister al-Maliki and President Bush fielded questions on progress being made in present day Iraq.

The prime minister explained that Iraq's Parliament includes multiple parties and views and that "nobody has the right, outside of Iraq, to interfere in the political or the security situation inside of Iraq."

Discussions between President Bush and Prime Minister al-Maliki touched upon how to: Accelerate authority to the prime minister and; bring security to Iraq. "It's going to -- the presence of the United States will be in Iraq so long as the government asks us to be in Iraq," President Bush said.

"I believe that there is more training to be done...I know that we're providing a useful addition to Iraq by chasing down al Qaeda and by securing -- by helping this country protect itself from al Qaeda," the president said.

As violence has increased across Iraq during 2006, those responsible for the violence were not fingered on any single group. The White House now contends that al Qaeda is responsible for the violence, it has also been said that Syria and Iran have helped fuel violence, but in years 2004 and 2005 violent outbreaks were attributed to Iraq insurgents laying alliance to any number of local groups.

"Al Qaeda made it clear earlier that suicide bombers would increase sectarian violence. That was part of their strategy," President Bush said. "One of our goals is to deny safe haven for al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Maliki government expects us and wants us to provide that vital part of security."

President Bush said that Iraq requested the United States military stay in the nation until further notice.

"So, we'll be in Iraq until the job is complete, at the request of a sovereign government elected by the people," President Bush said. The president added that the United States gave freedom to Iraq and a free society. "In my judgment, if we were to leave before the job is done, it would only embolden terrorists, it would only embolden the extremists. It would dash the hopes of millions of people who want to live in a free society, just like the 12 million people who voted in the Iraqi election. They want to live in a free society. And we support this government, because the government understands it was elected by the people," he said.

Prime Minister al-Maliki added that he has worked with President Bush to accelerate the transfer of the security from the United States military to Iraq authorities. "And be assured that the Iraqi forces and the security forces have reached a good level of competency and efficiency to protect Iraq as a country and to protect its people," the prime minister said.

Propaganda in the media however has impeded negotiations added Prime Minister al-Maliki, who denied Iran is involved in violence in Iraq. Misinformation is being used across the board to "give the impression of sectarian strife so that will reach a point of no return," he said.

"If there is any talk about intervention in Iraq and all the discussion, all the talks about people or other nations exerting control over Iraq, this is not true. This is a political process in Iraq. We want good relationships with our neighbors; we want complementary relationships with our neighbors to protect the region from tensions. But the main principle underlying all this is the respect of the Iraqi borders and the internal affairs of Iraq," he said.

President Bush added that Iran, Iraq's neighbor, fears democracy and "that's why they (Iran) destabilize Lebanon; that's why they are worried about the establishment of a Palestinian state."

"I am very worried, as should the world, about Iran's desires to have a nuclear weapon and, therefore, will continue to work with the world to send a clear message to the Iranians, the Iranian government, that we will -- they will become more isolated," President Bush said.

President Bush said he has great respect for the prime minister and that it is his goal to fund the tools necessary for Iraq to strengthen as soon as possible. Prime Minister al-Maliki  "has expressed a deep desire to unify his country. You hear all kinds of rumors about the politics inside of Iraq. I'm talking to the man face-to-face, and he says that he understands that a unified government, a pluralistic society, is important for success. And he's making hard decisions to achieve that."

"And the meeting today was to accelerate his capacity to do so. It's not easy for a military to evolve from ground zero, and I appreciate our forces, and I appreciate General Casey, who have worked very hard to train the Iraqis so they become a capable fighting force, as well as a unifying element for Iraq. But it's one thing to put people in uniform, and another thing to have clear command structure, or the capacity to move troops from point A to point B, or the capacity to make sure that the troop carrier from point A to point B has got the necessary air in its tires or oil in its engine. In other words, this is a sophisticated operation to get a unifying army stood up," President Bush said.

Both men agreed that settling the Palestine and Israel issues would help bring peace to the Middle East. "Our government strongly believes in the two-state solution," said President Bush. "I believe it's in the Palestinian people's interest that they have their own state. And I believe it is in Israel's interest that there be a democracy on her border. And therefore, we're working to that end."

The president said there are "extremists" working to destabilize Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq. "And the task at hand is to support moderate, reasonable people in their quest for free societies. And that means that Abu Mazen, who I believe wants there to be a Palestinian state living side-by-side with peace in Israel, deserves the support of the world. And he deserves support in peeling his government away from those who do not recognize Israel's right to exist."

"It's very important for the American people to understand that most Muslim mothers want their children to grow up in peace, and they're interested in peace. And it's in our interest to help liberty prevail in the Middle East, starting with Iraq," the president concluded.

When Iraq's people grow tired of the violence, that democracy would flourish in the nation the president said. Create a safe haven for terrorists in Iraq "would be very dangerous for America. It didn't take but 19 people who were trained in Afghanistan to get on airplanes and come and kill over 3,000 citizens in my country."

"And the best way to protect ourselves is to hunt down the terrorists and to help young democracies survive. Freedom and liberty is the great alternative to the hateful vision of those who are willing to murder innocent lives to achieve their objective," President Bush said.



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