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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

American Forces Press Service

Rice: Insurgents Will Fail To Stop Iraqi Political Progress

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2005 – A year to the day after a new, democratic government assumed sovereignty in Iraq, insurgents there still are seeking to derail the country's political progress through violence, the State Department's senior official said today.

Terrorists in Iraq who "have no political program, but simply want to destroy innocent life" will fail, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told "Today Show" host Katie Couric.

Rice noted to Couric that President Bush addresses the nation tonight on the current situation in Iraq, one year since the Iraqi assumption of sovereignty on June 28, 2004. Since then, she said, the Iraqis have had elections and formed a new government.

The Iraqis continue making political progress toward building a stable and democratic country, Rice said. Iraqis are crafting a new constitution, she said, and then will have elections for a permanent government.

The establishment of a democratic Iraq in the midst of Middle East extremism will promote stability in the region and benefit U.S. national security interests, Rice pointed out. The pursuit of such a goal "is difficult," she acknowledged, noting U.S. servicemembers in Iraq "are doing the hardest work every day."

Yet, "the United States has gone through difficult times before to come out on the other side with a more stable world," Rice asserted.

Rice acknowledged to Couric that insurgents in Iraq "are very tough and they're very bloody, and they can grab headlines on any given day." Yet, she predicted, "there will come a time when American forces and coalition forces are able to turn over to Iraqis responsibility for their security."

Stabilizing Iraq is both a military and a political process, Rice noted. "That is why," she said, "we keep emphasizing the steps that the Iraqis are taking on the political side to take control of their own future."

Rice noted that deadly bombings that have erupted across Iraq in recent weeks reflects the insurgents' belief that "as the political process goes forward, they begin to lose the support of the Iraqi people."

Therefore, the insurgents have stepped up "their efforts to try and stop that process of political reconciliation" across Iraq, she said.

However, Rice predicted to Couric that the December elections in Iraq would show "that the Iraqi people are not supportive of this insurgency."

And, "an insurgency cannot last without the support of the population," she said.

A stable and democratic Iraq "is a very important element of dealing with the politics of the Middle East," Rice told "Good Morning, America" host Charles Gibson.

And, the Middle East, Rice explained to Gibson, has for too long had a "freedom deficit" that leads to al-Qaeda-styled extremism.


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