Sunday, October 22, 2006
Sunday, 22 October 2006 BAGHDAD
The plan to bring security to Baghdad has not been a failure, but Coalition and Iraqi officials are going to refineit, the Multinational Force Iraq spokesman said during an interview Oct. 20.
Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV said any time the military puts a plan in play “you are constantly reassessing andreevaluating it. That’s what we’ve been doing since the beginning.”
He said the Coalition is working with a new Iraqi ministerial group to make adjustments to the plan, and that MNF-Icommander, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. does this in a more informal way with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also.
“Tactically, we want to make some adjustments and refinements to the plan,” Caldwell said. “We will continue to executethe plan.”
The general said violence and progress co-exist in Iraq…
“We’re going to have to continue on working for progress within the country with the rebuilding of the country, with thegovernance piece, with the economic piece,” he said. “Simultaneously, we’re dealing with the levels of violence that weexperience at different intensities at different times at different areas.”
The coalition’s overall goal is eventually to build the government of Iraq to where it can handle its own security, Caldwellsaid. It must be able to keep violence below a level at which a local police force can handle it.
The general said Iraq will have violence, criminal activity and terrorist activity for years to come.
“We recognize the fact that it’s going to be many, many years before this country sees a level of violence that’s morenormal to what we’re used to in America and what Westerners would want to see,” he said.
“What we have to do is develop the Iraqi Security Forces to such that they are able and capable of handling those threevarious levels of violence, bringing them down to some level to where the security forces are just above them, and canhandle it, and that’s the point which we’ll be allowed – or able – to disengage our forces,” he said.
That is going to take a political solution more than a military one, he said, and it’s a solution the Iraqi government – inoffice just over 150 days now – is beginning to address. He said Maliki is engaged in a tremendous amount of dialogue.The Council of Representatives is meeting and is making the tough choices, he added.
Maliki has held two national reconciliation conferences already, and continues to work with different political and sectarianfactions.
“He’s engaged in dialogue and working with all the different sects,” Caldwell said. “That’s exactly what has to occur if weare going to come to a political solution in this country, because it is up to the Iraqi people to rebuild and secure theircountry. (It’s) not something we can do; we can only set the stage.”