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Rumsfeld Marks Christmas Eve With U.S. Troops In Iraq

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld (file photo) (AFP) 24 December 2005 -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ate Christmas Eve dinner today with American troops in the Iraqi city Mosul.

Rumsfeld lent a hand serving troops a dinner of lobster tails, steak, and crab.

Addressing troops later, he reflected on the past year, during which he said Iraqi forces had assumed greater responsibilities for the country's security. He announced yesterday that the United States would be reducing its troop strength in Iraq by two brigades -- expected to be around 7,000 soldiers -- in the spring.

Rumsfeld also said the war in Iraq will go down in history as the "liberation of a country that once was an ally of terrorists."

Meanwhile, the Shi'a-dominated Iraqi government offered its good wishes to Iraqi Christians for Christmas. Some Christians in Iraq fear the new constitution could undermine their rights. The constitution names Islam as the state religion.

Christians make up 3-5 percent of the Iraqi population of 27 million.


Coalition Images Of The Voting

Coalition Images Of The Voting

The Multinational Force in Iraq on December 15, 2005, released official images of the voting in the legislative elections. To view a slideshow of their photographs, click on the image.

To see RFE/RL's special webpage about the election, click here.

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