General Petraeus: More needed to end Iraq unrest

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Trip_Wire, Mar 8, 2007.

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  1. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    (T_W) I doubt that the Democrats, especially Nancy Pelosi, will be happy to hear the Generals comments especially requests for more troops. The General's comments are spot on though, IMHO.

    By LAUREN FRAYER, Associated Press Writer

    BAGHDAD - Military force alone is not sufficient to end the violence in
    Iraq and political talks must eventually include some militant groups now opposing the U.S.-backed government, the new commander of U.S. forces in Iraq said Thursday. "This is critical," Gen. David Petraeus said in his first news conference since taking over command last month. He noted that such political negotiations "will determine in the long run the success of this effort."

    American troops have stepped up efforts to clear and secure major highways around the capital as part of the Baghdad security crackdown, which began last month. The

    Pentagon has pledged 17,500 combat troops for the capital.
    Petraeus said "it was very likely" that additional U.S. forces will be sent to areas outside the capital where militant groups are regrouping, including the Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.

    The region has become an increasingly important staging ground for groups including al-Qaida in Iraq. Meanwhile, many Sunni extremists apparently have shifted to Diyala to escape the Baghdad clampdown.

    Petraeus declined to predict the size of the expected Diyala reinforcements. He said that "any student of history recognizes there is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency in Iraq."

    "Military action is necessary to help improve security ... but it is not sufficient," Petraeus said. "A political resolution of various differences ... of various senses that people do not have a stake in the successes of Iraq and so forth — that is crucial. That is what will determine, in the long run, the success of this effort.

    U.S. officials, including Petraeus' predecessor Gen. George W. Casey Jr., have long expressed the opinion that no military solution to the Iraq crisis was possible without a political agreement among all the ethnic and religious factions — including some Sunni insurgents.

    However, previous overtures to the insurgents all faltered, apparently because of political opposition within Baghdad or Washington to some of the conditions.

    Last year, 11 Sunni insurgent groups working through mediators offered to immediately stop attacks on American-led forces in Iraq if the Shiite-led government and Washington set a two-year timetable for withdrawing all coalition forces from the country, according to insurgent and government officials.

    The groups did not include several major groups, including the Islamic Army in Iraq, Muhammad's Army and the Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella for eight militant groups including al-Qaida in Iraq.

    The Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported last year that U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad met seven times with insurgent representatives in late 2005 and early 2006. But the extremists broke off the contacts in April 2006 after the U.S. side failed to respond to a series of demands.

    The U.S. never confirmed details of the account but Khalilzad later said he believed his contacts with Sunni groups had contributed to a temporary decline in U.S. battle deaths, which fell in March 2006 to 31 — their lowest level in two years.

    One of Iraq's most expansive militias — the Mahdi Army of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr — appears to have set aside its weapons under intense government pressure to lend support to the Baghdad security plan.

    Mahdi militiamen also have allowed Iraqi authorities to try to protect at least 1 million pilgrims heading to Karbala, about 50 miles south of Baghdad.

    Many are making the traditional trek on foot for rituals beginning Friday to mark the end of a 40-day mourning period for Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Hussein's death in a 7th century battle near Karbala cemented the schism between Sunnis and Shiites.

    The processions have proved to be vulnerable targets, with attacks killing more than 170 people this week.

    Al-Sadr issued a statement urging pilgrims to join in chants denouncing the attackers. "I ask almighty God to protect you from the sectarian sedition," said the message.

    Petraeus denounced the "thugs with no soul" who have targeted Shiite pilgrims. "We share the horror" of witnessing the suicide bombings and shootings, he said.

    He said U.S. forces are ready to help provide additional security for the pilgrims if asked by Iraqi authorities.

    "It is an enormous task to protect all of them and there is a point at which if someone is willing to blow up himself ... the problem becomes very, very difficult indeed," he said.

    Security forces in Karbala have taken unprecedented measures, including checkpoints for top-to-bottom searches and a six-ring cordon around the two main Shiite shrines. At least 10,000 policemen have been placed on round-the-clock patrols.

    "All the city's entrances have been secured, and I call upon the pilgrims to follow the instructions of the security forces and let them do the necessary searches," Iraq's minister of state for national security, Sherwan al-Waili, said in Karbala.

    In Baghdad, a mortar attack shattered some windows at the Iraqi Airways office on the airport compound, but the shells landed hundreds of yards from the passenger terminal and caused no serious flight disruptions.

    Such attacks, however, send chills through Iraqi officials preparing to host an international conference Saturday on ways to help rebuild and stabilize the country.

    The session will be a rare instance of Iranian and the U.S. officials at the same table. Secretary of State

    Condoleezza Rice met her Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, in September. Washington cut diplomatic ties with Tehran after the takeover of the U.S. Embassy by radicals in the wake the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
    The United States has accused

    Iran of backing anti-American Shiite militants in Iraq, has detained Iranian officials there and has angered Tehran by bolstering its military presence in the Persian Gulf. Washington is also pushing for new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Wednesday his country hoped "the conference will bring forward the end of the presence of foreign forces" in Iraq — reiterating Tehran's stance that U.S. troops should withdraw.
  2. Au contraire, I think, from a political standpoint at least,the Dems will be delighted. They said at the time the "surge", or whatever they're calling it now was a) too small to be effective, and b) was not a temporary surge but an escalation. The fact is that the Dems, or anyone else, has a coherent plan to deal with the clusterfcuk- but the dems don't need one for the moment.

    Come 2008, they can point to yet another bill of goods Bush and the GOP has sold to the American people. I think the only Republican that will be happy with the news will be John McCain, but looking at the latest polling of Republican voters, I think it'll be interesting to see if he can reclaim any of the ground he's lost.
  3. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    crabtastic: The Democrats plan (?)

    Democrats Want Iraq Pullout by Fall 2008

    Mar 08 11:19 AM US/Eastern

    AP Special Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a direct challenge to President Bush, House Democrats unveiled legislation Thursday requiring the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the fall of next year.
    Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the deadline would be added to legislation providing nearly $100 billion the Bush administration has requested for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    She told reporters the measure would mark the first time the new Democratic-controlled Congress has established a "date certain" for the end of U.S. combat in the four-year-old war that has claimed the lives of more than 3,100 U.S. troops.

    Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said the proposal would bring an "orderly and responsible close" to American participation in what he called an Iraqi "civil war."

    According to an explanation of the measure distributed by Democratic aides, the timetable for withdrawal would be accelerated if the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not meet goals for providing for Iraq's security.

    Democrats won control of Congress last fall in midterm elections shadowed by public opposition to the war, and have vowed since taking power to challenge Bush's policies.

    Pelosi made her announcement as Senate Democrats reviewed a different approach _ a measure that would set a goal of a troop withdrawal by March of 2008. Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada called a closed- door meeting of the rank-and-file to consider the measure.

    In the House, Pelosi and the leadership have struggled in recent days to come up with an approach on the war that would satisfy liberals reluctant to vote for continued funding without driving away more moderate Democrats unwilling to be seen as tying the hands of military commanders.

    The decision to impose conditions on the war risks a major confrontation with the Bush administration and its Republican allies in Congress.

    But without a unified party, the Democratic leadership faced the possibility of a highly embarrassing defeat when the spending legislation reaches a vote, likely later this month.

    To make the overall measure more attractive politically, Democrats also intend to add $1.2 billion to Bush's request for military operations in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is expected to mount a spring offensive.

    The bill also will exceed Bush's request for veterans' health care and medical programs for active duty troops at facilities such as the scandal-scarred Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington.

    Democrats also are including funds for a health care program for low- income children. The program is popular among governors of both political parties, but the administration has not signaled its acquiescence to the additional money.

    As described by Democrats, the legislation will require Bush to certify by July 1 and again by Oct. 1. whether the Iraqi government is making progress toward providing for the country's security, allocating its oil revenues and creating a fair system for amending its constitution.

    They said if Bush certified the Iraqis were meeting these so-called benchmarks, U.S. combat troops would have to begin withdrawing by March 1, 2008, and complete the redeployment by Sept. 1.

    Otherwise, the deadlines would move up.

    If Bush cannot make the required certification by July 1, troops must begin a six-month withdrawal immediately. If Bush cannot make the second certification, the same six-month timetable would apply.

    The legislation also requires the Pentagon to adhere to its existing standards for equipping and training U.S. troops sent overseas and for providing time at home between tours of combat.

    Pelosi said the provision was designed to make sure the government would "not be sending our troops into battle without the proper training, the proper equipment."

    Yet it also permits Bush to issue waivers of these standards. Democrats described the waiver provision as an attempt to embarrass the president into adhering to the standards. But they concede the overall effect would be to permit the administration to proceed with plans to deploy five additional combat brigades to the Baghdad area over the next few months.

    The measure emerged from days of private talks among Democrats following the collapse of Rep. John Murtha's original proposal, which would have required the Pentagon to meet readiness and training standards without the possibility of a waiver.

    Murtha, D-Pa., and chairman of a House Appropriations military subcommittee, said its implementation would have starved the war effort of troops because the Pentagon would not have been able to find enough fully rested, trained and equipped units to meet its needs.

    Several moderate Democrats spoke out against it, though. And Republicans sharply attacked it as the abandonment of troops already in the war zone.
  4. TW FFS can you do anything other than posting news articles and adding a one line comment? Have you no thoughts of your own that extend pass a onliner?

    BTW good GOD man a link would do this is the age of the internet.
  5. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    Normally, I would ignore your comments; however, in this case I will respond. I usually choose to post both the website source and the article because IMHO, it works better to make whatever point, or subject that I'm addressing a little clearer. Some people, here on this board (People in the UK.) have expressed difficulty in reaching articles on 'sites within the USA at time for whatever reasons(s).

    As for 'one liners,' I see no need to go into detail about an article, which I have posted, because I think it has some merit, or would like others opinions on, etc., or whatever. One line usually covers, what I needed or wanted to say, about the article in question.

    In this case, crabtastic had just posted that the Democrats had no plan, etc. I ran across the article on their 'plan' (?) just after reading his post and thought ... Hmmm ... Ok, here's their plan! I'll post it for Crabtastic and others to read. What do I think of their plan? I think it's crap, but thats just my opinion!

    If my posts and the way I post them annoy you, I suggest you skip reading them and then, you'll have more time "to scratch your 'nuts' and sniff them, as you say you do. :brilsmurf:
  6. I personally enjoy reading trips posts. I believe there's not enough good, truthful information floating around, and TW does a good job of posting it up to keep the masses "informed". I say that loosely because I know some of you will whine about it.
  7. Trip,
    You and I both know that the Dems are all over the place on this and don't have a single coherent strategy. That's only ONE "plan" (if you can call it that).
  8. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP


    You did notice my (?) after plan?

    LOL! ;)
  9. Petraeus is a smart guy. It's too bad nobody in congress listens to him (seems they only hear what their party wants to hear)
  10. I agree with you - as he seems to be the only one with the formidable intellect necessary to see 'through' this problem - just hope the Media and the Politicians leave him the peace he needs, to get it done...

    His track record bodes well for a revitalised push forwards.
  11. Trip said,

    Well, I doubt the Rightwing will be pleased to hear that Gen. Petey is calling for eventually including insurgent groups in dialogue and negotiations.
  12. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP


    Which part of my statement here, that included,: "The General's comments are spot on though, IMHO." didn't you understand?

    BTW: I am a 'conservative,' not a right winger!
  13. Trip,

    this is what I did not undersand: the sarcasm replete in this statement.


    A conservative= a rightwinger.

    A liberal= a leftwinger.

    You are a conservative. I have been refered to as a liberal before. Yet, I never whine.
  14. I think we can all agree, 'conservatives' and 'liberals' alike, that partisanship will make Petraeus's job much more difficult
  15. Chiefy,

    Sorry to say that if Gen. Petey has time to listen to partisanship, he has too much time in his hands. I am sure he will do his job to the best of his abilities. He is the last hope for this war.

    On the other hand, he has been described as highly ambitious. Is he angling for the next Joint Chief's chairmanship?

    Or the title of the next Gen. MacArthur? I sincerely hope he is. MacArthur won a war against a thousandfold more overwhelming odds. If he can be half as good, he would have succeded beyond anybody's wildest imaginations.

    My prayers are with him.