American Diplomat on Iraq:
‘Arrogant and Stupid’
Zaman Daily (Istanbul/TURKEY) 23oct2006
A high-ranking diplomat from the U.S. State Department made controversial comments about America’s handling of Iraq.
Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department offered an unusually sincere as well as brave assessment of the war in Iraq.
"We tried to do our best but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq" he stated.
The U.S. diplomat also noted that the United States was now ready to talk with any group, except Al-Qaeda, in Iraq to facilitate national reconciliation.
“We are open to dialogue because we all know that, at the end of the day, the solution to the hell and the killings in Iraq is linked to an effective Iraqi national reconciliation."
He added that the Iraqi government was really determined to foster this reconciliation.
Fernandez made the statements while being interviewed on Al-Jazeerah, the Arab news channel. He warned that failure to pacify the widening sectarian strife in Iraq, as well as the enduring resistance, would damage the entire Middle East.
"We are witnessing failure in Iraq and that's not the failure of the United States alone but it is a disaster for the region,” he said.
The Qatar-based Al-Jazeerah television news channel also hosted a man claiming to speak for the Iraqi Baath Party, which is part of the Iraqi resistance.
Using the pseudonym “Abu Mohammed,” he told the network that the United States was seeking a face-saving exodus from Iraq and that Iraqi resistance fighters were ready to negotiate but would not lay down their arms.
He appeared to demand conditions for the start of any talks with the Americans, including: “the return to service of former Iraqi armed forces, the annulment of every law adopted since the US invasion, the recognition of Iraqi resistance groups as the sole representatives of the Iraqi people and a timetable for a gradual, unconditional withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops in Iraq.”
source: http://www.zaman.com/?bl=international&alt=&trh=20061023&hn=37618 23oct2006
ARROGANT & STUPID
US official on Iraq strategy
ROSA PRINCE / The Mirror (UK) 23oct2006
A SENIOR US official claimed yesterday they had gone badly wrong in Iraq and shown "arrogance and stupidity".
The State Department's Alberto Fernandez became the latest highranking figure to call for a rehaul of tactics in the war on terror.
UK defence chiefs have ordered an urgent review of military strategy as the situation in Iraq threatens to spiral out of control.
Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge, former head of British armed forces, warned problems in Iraq undermined the mission in Afghanistan.
His successor General Sir Richard Dannatt had shocked Downing Street by saying the presence of British troops in Iraq was making the security crisis there worse.
Mr Fernandez admitted the Bush regime had got it wrong.
He said: "I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq."
He told al-Jazeera TV the US was willing to talk to any insurgent group, apart from al-Qaeda, to reduce bloodshed.
His remarks came as President Bush and his military commanders discussed changing tactics.
Sources suggest the Baker Commission on strategy in the region will advise the president to drop his "stay the course" policy in favour of an earlier exit.
It may even urge him to work with traditional foes Iran and Syria to build Middle East stability.
Here Foreign Office minister Kim Howells said coalition troops could leave within "a year or so".
Defence Secretary Des Browne said Britain is "far down the road" of transferring control of southern Iraq to local authorities. He added: "It is a process, not an event."
Policy reviews in London and Washington came as Iraq suffered yet another bloody weekend of bombings and executions.
The UN estimates 100 Iraqi civilians are killed each day. So far this month, 79 American soldiers have died in Iraq.
Near Basra, British troops were visited by Prince Philip yesterday. He told them: "You have been doing a fantastic job."
In Afghanistan 15 rebels were killed when they attacked a Nato convoy. Two Nato troops were wounded in the firefight.
TERRORISTS in Bagdhad were posing in army uniforms and appealing for intelligence to try to flush out civilian informants, authorities warned yesterday.