Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Iraqi Politicians: Bush Ideas Not New

Associated Press

Iraqi politicians on both sides of the sectarian divide said Wednesday they heard no new ideas and had little reason for renewed hope from President Bush's State of the Union address.

During Tuesday's speech, Bush urged critics to give his plan to increase American troops in Iraq a chance, and said a political solution is also needed to quell the violence.

"Bush has not come up with anything new and it gives no real hope for ordinary Iraqis," said Sunni lawmaker Hussein al-Falluji. "Bush said that sending more troops might solve the security problem, but I think it will not curb the violence for a long time because the problem is not only military, it is more political and about foreign interference."

However, al-Falluji welcomed Bush's warning the sectarian violence engulfing Iraq could lead to a wider regional conflict, as Shiite extremists are backed by Iran and Sunni extremists are aided by al-Qaida.

Bush's talk about Iran's influence in the Iraq insurgency "means that he is now closer to understanding the origin of the problem," al-Falluji said.

The U.S. administration accuses the Shiite theocracy in Tehran of helping stoke the violence in predominantly Shiite Iraq. Sunnis, who were dominant under Saddam Hussein but lost power after his ouster and have led the insurgency, have also made that accusation.

A lawmaker with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's bloc also urged a political solution.

"Bush's speech still contained the logic of force and destruction instead of the logic of dialogue and political solutions," said lawmaker Falah Hassan. "I believe that the U.S. administration should adopt the speech of peace instead of the speech of soldiers." .....

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