Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice October 19 laid out a three-part political-military
strategy for achieving success in Iraq, saying the coalition
forces and the Iraqi government must clear all parts of
the country from insurgent control, ensure that those areas
remain secure and build durable, national Iraqi institutions.
Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
that the strategy would not be successful through military
or civilian action alone. “This requires an integrated
civil-military partnership,” she said.
The secretary listed several recent offensives
aimed at depriving insurgents of safe havens and said coalition
and Iraqi forces are integrating political and economic
outreach into their military operations to ensure that the
secured areas do not return to insurgent control.
Rice also outlined what the Iraqi government
must do to be effective. She said it must bridge sectarian
and ethnic differences, guarantee the rule of law, deliver
essential services and provide hope for a better economic
The secretary spoke of four major objectives
that could serve as benchmarks for success in Iraq. These
are: breaking the back of the insurgency; preventing Iraq
from becoming a sanctuary for Islamic extremists; demonstrating
the potential for democratic change in the Arab and Muslim
world; and providing hope for a brighter economic future.
Rice told the senators that Iraqis have
adhered to an ambitious political schedule and said it is
not surprising that the parties have not yet resolved all
of their differences, many of which have been hundreds of
years in the making. She said, however, that the proposed
constitution would provide a framework to address their
disagreements. This democratic political process, she said,
is the only way that the different communities can hope
to achieve peaceful coexistence. (See Iraq’s Political
Rice said she believes that Iraq’s
Sunni Arabs have come to appreciate the importance of participating
in the political process and is optimistic that they will
remain engaged in the process through the upcoming elections
even if the constitution is approved over a majority rejection
by the Sunni community.
“If the referendum passes, those who
voted ‘no’ this time will realize that their
chosen representatives can then participate in the review
of the constitution that was agreed upon last week,”
If the constitution passes, it will serve
as the basis for national elections December 15, and the
resulting government will have the right to review and amend
the document. Rice expects that the Sunnis will want to
ensure that their voices are heard in this review process.
“People recognize that their best
bet to protect their interests is to elect candidates who
will protect their interests,” she said.
Rice offered no expectation that the strength
of the insurgency will diminish in the near future. “The
enemy's strategy is to infect, terrorize, and pull down,”
she said. “Sadly, this strategy has some short-term
advantages because it is easier to pull down than to build
up. It is easier to sow fear than to grow hope.”
This strategy is ultimately doomed to fail,
Rice said, because it offers no vision for the future. She
said that in contrast the U.S. strategy is to help build
up the physical, security and economic infrastructure necessary
to ensure a brighter future. Specifically, she noted that
the United States would begin to establish provincial reconstruction
teams (PRTs) similar to those that have been used in Afghanistan.
(See Rebuilding Afghanistan.)
“These will be civil-military teams,
working in concert with each of the major subordinate commands,
training police, setting up courts, and helping local governments
with essential services like sewage treatment or irrigation,”
Rice refused to set a timetable for the
withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, saying that the withdrawal
will be contingent on conditions on the ground, specifically
the ability of Iraqi forces to provide security. She said,
however, that a joint U.S.-Iraqi committee has been formed
to define the conditions that would allow for a U.S. withdrawal.
For additional information, see Iraq Update.
Following is a transcript of the secretary’s
statement to the committee:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
October 19, 2005
Opening Remarks by Secretary of State Condoleezza
Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
October 19, 2005
(10:00 a.m. EDT)
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. I would like
to deliver this in full. It's my first opportunity to talk
to you specifically about Iraq. I've spoken many times about
why we are there, but I would like to talk about how we
In short, with the Iraqi government, our
political-military strategy has to be to clear, hold, and
build: to clear areas from insurgent control, to hold them
securely, and to build durable, national Iraqi institutions.
In 2003, enforcing UN resolutions, we overthrew
a brutal dictator and liberated a nation. Our strategy then
emphasized the military defeat of the regime's forces and
the creation of a temporary government with the Coalition
Provisional Authority and an Iraqi Governing Council.
In 2004, President Bush outlined a five
step plan to end the occupation: transferring sovereignty
to an Iraqi interim government, rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure,
getting more international support, preparing for Iraq's
first national election this past January, and helping to
establish security. Our soldiers and marines fought major
battles, major battles, against the insurgency in places
like Najaf and Sadr City and Fallujah.
In 2005, we emphasized transition: a security
transition to greater reliance on Iraqi forces and a political
transition to a permanent, constitutional democracy. The
just-concluded referendum was a landmark in that process.
And now we are preparing for 2006. First
we must help Iraqis as they hold another vital election
in December. Well over nine million Iraqis voted on Sunday.
Whether Iraqis voted yes or no, they were voting for an
Iraqi nation, and for Iraqi democracy.
And all their voices, pro and con, will
be heard again in December. If the referendum passes, those
who voted no this time will realize that their chosen representatives
can then participate in the review of the constitution that
was agreed upon last week.
This process will ultimately lead to Iraqis
selecting a lasting government, for a four year term. We
must then have a decisive strategy to help that government
set a path toward democracy, stability, and prosperity.
Our nation -- our servicemen and women --
are fighting in Iraq at a pivotal time in world history.
We must succeed. And I look forward to working together
with you on winning.
We know our objectives. We and the Iraqi
government will succeed if together we can:
-- Break the back of the insurgency so that
Iraqis can finish it off without large-scale military help
from the United States.
-- Keep Iraq from becoming a safe haven
from which Islamic extremists can terrorize the region or
-- Demonstrate positive potential for democratic
change and free expression in the Arab and Muslim worlds,
even under the most difficult conditions.
-- And turn the corner financially and economically,
so there is a sense of hope and a visible path toward self-reliance.
Now, of course, to achieve this, we must
know who we are fighting. Some of these people are creatures
of a deposed tyrant, others a small number of home-grown
and imported Islamist extremists. They feed on a portion
of the population that is overwhelmed by feelings of fear,
resentment, and despair.
As I have said, our strategy is to clear,
hold, and build. The enemy's strategy is to infect, terrorize,
and pull down.
They want to spread more fear, resentment,
and despair -- inciting sectarian violence as they did two
weeks ago in Hillah, when they blew up devout worshippers
in a mosque, and committed this atrocity during the holy
month of Ramadan. They attack infrastructure, like electricity
and water, so that average Iraqis will lose hope.
They target foreigners. The enemy forces
have never won even a platoon-size battle against our soldiers
and marines. But their ultimate target is the coalition's
center of gravity: the will of America, of Britain, and
of other coalition members. Let us say it plainly: The terrorists
want us to get discouraged and quit. They believe we do
not have the will to see this through. They talk openly
about this in their writings on their websites.
And they attack the Iraqi government, targeting
the most dedicated public servants of the new Iraq. Mayors
and physicians and teachers and policemen, soldiers -- none
are exempt. Millions of Iraqis are putting their lives on
the line every single day to build a new nation and the
insurgents want most to strike at them.
Sadly, this strategy has some short-term
advantages because it is easier to pull down than to build
up. It is easier to sow fear than to grow hope.
But the enemy strategy has a fatal flaw.
The enemy has no positive vision for the future of Iraq.
They offer no alternative that could unite Iraqi as a nation.
And that is why most Iraqis despise the insurgents.
The enemy leaders know their movement is
unpopular. Zawahiri's July letter to Zarqawi reveals that
he is "extremely concerned" that, deprived of
popular support, the insurgents will "be crushed in
the shadows." "We don't want to repeat the mistakes
of the Taliban," he warned, whose regime "collapsed
in days, because the people were passive or hostile."
Knowing how unpopular they are, the enemy
leaders also hate the idea of democracy. They will never
let themselves or their ideas face the test of democratic
Let me now turn to our political-military
strategy. We are moving from a stage of transition toward
the strategy to prepare a permanent Iraqi government for
a decisive victory.
The strategy that is being carried out has
profited from the insights of strategic thinkers, civilian
and military, inside and outside of government, who have
reflected on our experience and on insurgencies in other
periods of history.
We know what we must do. With our Iraqi
allies, we are working to:
-- Clear the toughest places -- no sanctuaries
to the enemy -- and to disrupt foreign support for the insurgents.
-- We are working to hold and steadily enlarge
the secure areas, integrating political and economic outreach
with our military operations.
-- We are working to build truly national
institutions by working with more capable provincial and
local authorities. We are challenging them to embody a national
compact -- not tools of a particular sect or ethnic group.
These Iraqi institutions must sustain security forces, bring
rule of law, visibly deliver essential services, and offer
the Iraqi people hope for a better economic future.
None of these elements, as you have said,
Mr. Chairman, can be achieved by military action alone.
None are purely civilian either. This requires an integrated
civil-military partnership. And let me briefly review that
Clear the toughest places -- no sanctuaries.
As we enlarge security in major urban areas and as insurgents
retreat, they should find no large area where they can reorganize
and operate freely. Recently our forces have gone on the
offensive. In Tall Afar, near the Syrian border, and in
the west along the Euphrates valley in places like Al Qaim,
Haditha, and Hit, American and Iraqi forces are clearing
As one terrorist wrote to another: "[I]f
the government extends its control over the country, we
will have to pack our bags and break camp."
Syria and Iran allow fighters and military
assistance to reach insurgents in Iraq. In the case of Syria,
we are concerned about cross-border infiltration, about
unconstrained travel networks, and about the suspicious
young men who are being waved through Damascus International
As a part of our strategy, we have taken
military steps, as with our offensive in Tal Afar, to cut
off the flow of people or supplies near that border. And
we are also taking new diplomatic steps to convey the seriousness
of our concerns. Syria and indeed Iran must decide whether
they wish to side with the cause of war or with the cause
Secondly, to hold and enlarge secure areas.
In the past our problem was that once an area was clear
militarily, the Iraqi security forces were unable to hold
it. Now, Iraqi units are more capable.
-- In August 2004, five Iraqi regular army
battalions were in combat. Today, 91 Iraqi regular army
battalions are in combat.
-- A year ago, no American advisors were
embedded with these battalions. Now all of these battalions
have American advisors.
With more capable Iraqi forces, we can implement
this element of the strategy, holding secure areas -- neighborhood
by neighborhood. And this process has already begun.
-- Compare the situation a year ago in places
like Haifa Street in Baghdad, or Baghdad's Sadr City, or
downtown Mosul, or Najaf, or Fallujah, with the situation
-- Security along the once notorious airport
road in Baghdad has measurably improved. Najaf, where American
forces fought a major battle last year, is now entirely
under independent Iraqi military control.
As this strategy is being implemented, the
military side recedes and the civilian part -- like police
stations and civic leaders and economic development -- move
into the foreground. Our transition strategy emphasized
the building of the Iraqi army. Now our police training
efforts are receiving new levels of attention.
Third, we must build truly national institutions.
The institutions of Saddam Hussein's government were violent
and corrupt, tearing apart the ties that ordinarily bind
communities together. The last two years have seen three
temporary governments govern Iraq, making it extremely difficult
to build national institutions even under the best of circumstances.
The new government that will come can finally set down real
To be effective, that government must bridge
sects and ethnic groups. And its institutions must not become
the tools of a particular sect or group.
Let me assure you, the United States will
not try to pick winners. We will support parties and politicians
in every community who are dedicated to peaceful participation
in the future of a democratic Iraq.
The national institutions must also sustain
the security forces and bring rule of law to Iraq.
The national institutions must also visibly
deliver essential services. Thanks to you and other members
of Congress, the United States has already invested billions
of dollars to keep electricity and fuel flowing across Iraq.
In the transition phase, we concentrated on capital investment,
adding capacity to a system that had deteriorated to the
point of collapse. But, with freedom, the demand for electricity
has gone up by 50% and the capability we have added is not
being fully utilized because of constant insurgent attacks.
We are with the Iraqis developing new ways to add security
to this battered but vital system. And the Iraqis must reform
their energy policies and pricing in order to make the system
The national institutions must also offer
the Iraqi people hope for a better economic future.
Millions of farmers, small businessmen,
and investors need a government that encourages growth rather
than fostering dependence on handouts from the ruler. The
government, the next government, will need to make some
difficult but necessary decisions about economic reform.
In sum, we and the Iraqis must seize the
vital opportunity provided by the establishment of a permanent
Well, what is Required?
First, Iraqis must continue to come together
in order to build their nation. The state of Iraq was constructed
across the fault lines of ancient civilizations, among Arabs
and Kurds, Sunni and Shi'a, Muslims and Christians. No one
can solve this problem for them. For years these differences
were dealt with through violence and repression. Now Iraqis
are using compromise and politics.
Second, the Iraqi government must forge
more effective partnerships with foreign governments, particularly
in building their ministries and governmental capacity.
-- On our side of this partnership, the
United States should sustain a maximum effort to help the
Iraqi government succeed, tying it more clearly to our immediate
-- On Iraq's side, the government must show
us and other assisting countries that critical funds are
being well spent -- whatever their source. They must show
commitment to the professionalization of their government
and bureaucracy. And they must demonstrate the willingness
to take tough decisions.
Third, Iraq must forge stronger partnerships
with the international community beyond the United States.
The Iraqis have made it clear that they
want the multinational military coalition to remain. Among
many contributors, the soldiers and civilians of the United
Kingdom deserve special gratitude for their resolve, their
skill, and their sacrifices.
Now the military support from the coalition
must be matched by diplomatic, economic, and political support
from the entire international community. Earlier this year,
in Brussels and Amman, scores of nations gathered to offer
more support. NATO has opened a training mission near Baghdad.
And now, as Iraq chooses a permanent, constitutional government,
it is time for Iraq's neighbors to do more to help.
-- The major oil producing states of the
Gulf have gained tens of billions of dollars of additional
revenue from rising oil prices. They are considering how
to invest these gains for the future.
-- These governments must be partners in
shaping the region's future.
-- We understand that across the region,
there are needs and multilateral programs in the Palestinian
territories, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Pakistan as well
as Iraq. Rather than consider them in a disjointed way,
they together form part of a broad regional effort in transforming
the Arab and Muslim world. We hope the governments of the
region, as well as others in Europe and Asia, will examine
these needs and then invest decisively, on an unprecedented
scale, to become continuing stakeholders in the future of
Iraq and of the region.
Finally, the U.S. government must deepen
and strengthen the integration of our civilian and military
-- At the top in Iraq, we have established
an effective partnership between the Embassy and Ambassador
Khalilzad on the one hand, and the Multinational Forces
command and General Casey on the other.
-- To be sure, civilian agencies have already
made an enormous effort. Hundreds of civilian employees
and contractors have lost their lives in Iraq. But more
can be done to mobilize the civilian agencies of our government,
especially to get more people in the field, outside of Baghdad's
International Zone, to follow up when the fighting stops.
-- We will embed our diplomats, police trainers,
and aid workers more fully on military bases, traveling
with our soldiers and marines.
-- To execute our strategy we will restructure
a portion of the U.S. mission in Iraq. Learning from successful
precedents used in Afghanistan, we will deploy Provincial
Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in key parts of the country.
These will be civil-military teams, working in concert with
each of the major subordinate commands, training police,
setting up courts, and helping local governments with essential
services like sewage treatment or irrigation. The first
of these new PRTs will take the field next month.
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee,
to succeed, we need most your help and your support, and
that of the American people. We seek support across the
aisle, from both Democrats and Republicans.
And I know that we all, as Americans, know
the importance of success in this mission. It is hard. It
is hard to imagine decisive victory when violent men continue
their attacks on Iraqi civilians and security forces and
on American and coalition soldiers and marines. And we honor
the sacrifice because every individual has life stories
and friends and families -- and incalculable sorrow that
has been left behind.
But of course, there is a great deal at
stake. A free Iraq will be at the heart of a different kind
of Middle East. We must defeat the ideology of hatred, the
ideology that forms the roots of the extremist threat that
we face. Iraq's struggle -- the region's struggle -- is
to show that there is a better way, a freer way, to lasting
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.