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Rumsfeld Says Iraq Not In Civil War


http://gdb.rferl.org/DE8EC20C-CC44-4591-BA3B-F12D110D76B3_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/DE8EC20C-CC44-4591-BA3B-F12D110D76B3_mw800_mh600.jpg U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld rejected suggestions that Iraq is in a civil war (file photo) (epa) March 7, 2006 -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has rejected suggestions Iraq is engulfed in a civil war and accused media of exaggerating the severity of the current situation there.

Rumsfeld, speaking at a Pentagon briefing today, said Iraqi leaders would not allow the country to plunge into civil war.


"[Iraqi leaders] have to be fully aware that if this does not work, they and all of the people who have supported them lose everything, if this turned into a civil war, and they can't want that," Rumsfeld said. "They want just the opposite and they've demonstrated the courage to show that they want just the opposite."


Hundreds of people were killed in sectarian violence sparked by the February 22 bombing of a major Shi'ite shrine in Samarra.


Rumsfeld also said Iranian revolutionary guards were infiltrating into Iraq and warned Tehran it was making an "error in judgment" by allowing that.


(Reuters, AP, AFP)

Reactions To The Samarra Attack
Demonstrators in Baghdad on February 23 (epa)

Iraqi religious and government leaders, as well as international officials, condemned the February 22 bomb attack that wrecked the Golden Mosque, a major Shi'ite Muslim shrine in Samarra. Below is a selection of statements on the incident.


"This new ugly crime comes as a warning that there is a conspiracy against the Iraqi people to spark a war among brothers. God willing, we will not allow this.... We must cooperate and work together against this danger, the danger of civil war. This is the fiercest danger because it threatens our unity and our country with a devastating civil war." -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani


"The timing of this crime indicates that one of its aims is to stall the political process and to hamper the negotiations on the formation of a national-unity government." -- President Talabani


"I announce on this occasion three days of mourning. I hope our heroic people will take more care on this occasion to bolster Islamic unity and protect Islamic brotherhood and Iraqi national brotherhood." -- Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari


"Oh honorable people of Samarra! We should stand as one, united in confronting terrorism.... This assault is an assault on all Muslims." -- Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabur


"They will fail to draw the Iraqi people into civil war as they have failed in the past." -- Iraqi National Security Adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubay'i


"If the security systems are unable to secure necessary protection, the believers are able to do so with the might of God." -- Shi'ite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani


"We will not only condemn and protest but we will act against those militants. If the Iraqi government does not do its job to defend the Iraqi people we are ready to do so." -- Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, speaking through spokesman Abdel Hadi al-Darajee

(compiled by Reuters)

For more reactions, click here and here.


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