Iraq Violence Forces Bush to Change Tactics

Growing attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and a heavy toll on U.S. troops in Iraq has compelled U.S. President George W. Bush to reconsider tactics in Iraq.

Iraq Violence Forces Bush to Change Tactics

Bush will review strategy in Iraq today with Generals John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, and George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also announced they would revise their Iraqi plan.

In a radio address, Bush said they would employ "every necessary change" to quell the surge in attacks.

Top level military officials said they might focus on changing tactics to combat the unrest, but not the overall military strategy.

In his declaration to the European Parliament, Bush said that U.S. goals in Iraq were the same: to have a country that can sustain itself, govern itself, and help in the fight against terrorism.

Longtime Bush family friend and former Secretary of State James Baker is also leading a panel that is preparing recommendations for alternative strategies in Iraq though the panel's recommendations will not be issued until after the Nov. 7 elections in the United States.

Diplomat condemns US 'arrogance' in Iraq

A senior American diplomat has told Aljazeera that the United States has shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq.

"We tried to do our best [in Iraq], but I think there is much room for criticism, because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq," said Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the bureau of Near Eastern affairs at the US state department, in an interview on the Arabic channel aired on Saturday.

Fernandez also declared that the US was ready to talk with any Iraqi group - except al-Qaeda in Iraq - to end the growing sectarian violence and the continuing insurgency.

"We are open to dialogue because we all know that, at the end of the day, the hell and the killings in Iraq are linked to an effective Iraqi national reconciliation," he said, speaking in Arabic from Washington.

"The Iraqi government is convinced of this," he added.

A US state department spokesman on Saturday said that Fernandez alleged he had not been quoted accurately in the interview.

"What he [Fernandez] says is that it is not an accurate quote," said Sean McCormack.

However, Aljazeera said Fernandez' interview had been rechecked and confirmed the comments were accurate and the words "arrogance" and "stupidity" were used.


Fernandez was interviewed after a spokesman for Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath Party, using the pseudonym "Abu Mohammed", said that the US was seeking a face-saving exodus from Iraq and that insurgents were ready to negotiate, but would not lay down their arms.

He also set a series of conditions which he said would have to be met before talks with the Americans could begin.

They included the return to service of Saddam Hussein's armed forces, the scrapping of every law adopted since Saddam Hussein was removed from power, the recognition of insurgent groups as the sole representatives of the Iraqi people and a timetable for the gradual and unconditional withdrawal of US and other foreign troops in Iraq.

"The occupier has started to search for a face-saving way out. The resistance, with all its factions, is determined to continue fighting until the enemy is brought down to his knees and sits on the negotiating table or is dealt, with God's help, a humiliating defeat," "Abu Mohammed" said.

"Removed from reality"

Fernandez responded to the comments saying; "There is an element of the farcical in that statement… They are very removed from reality".

The diplomat's remarks were part of a series of bleak assessments of the situation in Iraq from senior US officials in recent weeks.

President Bush has conceded that "right now it's tough" for US forces in Iraq.

Major general William B Caldwell, the US military spokesman in Iraq, admitted that attacks in Baghdad were up 22 per cent in the first three weeks of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, despite a two-month US-Iraqi drive to bring the violence under control.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16