Rumsfeld flies in to Iraq

Security in Iraq depends as much on the Iraqi government's political success as it does on beating the insurgency, Donald Rumseld said while on an unannounced visit to the country.

    Rumsfeld's visit was his 13th to Iraq as US defence secretary

    The US defence secretary said on Wednesday: "We're at a point now when the security situation depends as much on the reconciliation process and on the strengthening of [government] ministries.

     

    "It's as much a political task as anything."

    He was speaking to reporters travelling with him on a visit that follows stops in Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

    Rumsfeld said that because of political challenges, Iraq was not yet prepared to make decisions that might allow the United States to cut troop levels.

     

    "We haven't gotten to that point," Rumsfeld said. He said that US commanders and Iraqi officials must first undertake a comprehensive review of needs on the ground before the US can consider reducing troop levels.

     

    A 129,000-strong American force is serving in Iraq more than three years into the war in which about 2,500 US troops have died.

     

    Troops misconduct

     

    Security in Baghdad was among the topics the US defence secretary said he would discuss with commanders and Iraqi officials.

     

    But Rumsfeld said he did not plan to discuss a series of recent accusations and charges against US servicemen of murdering Iraqi civilians.

     

    Those cases, including the murder of 24 unarmed civilians in Haditha and the rape of a teenager and murder of her family, have battered America's image and led senior Iraqi officials to question the immunity US troops have from Iraqi law.

       

    Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, for example, has called for independent inquiries into the Mahmudiya rape and murder case.

    Rumsfeld, however, said the cases would be handled by US military officials.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.