Significant progress in implementing “surge” in Baghdad – US


London : A senior spokesman at the US Central Command in the Gulf has expressed cautious optimism over the implementation of the American security plan in Baghdad known as "the surge."

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Director of the International Media Team at the US Central Command, Captain Vic Beck, who is based in Dubai, told KUNA in an exclusive interview here that 50 per cent of Baghdad is now secure as a result of the implementation of the surge.

Speaking at the American embassy, in central London Thursday, Captain Beck said: "We are not ecstatically happy with this result, but we are at war."

"The aim is to achieve a secure and stable Iraq," the senior US defense spokesman emphasized.

In answer to a question, he said that success will depend not only on the security plan but also on the political and economic side. "In addition to the success of the security plan we need to have a political process and an economic development that will lead to the stability of Iraq… these three pieces are critical," Captain Beck made it clear. "They all need to work in tandem."

"We don't operate in a vacuum at all, we work very closely with the whole political process."

"We are operating on two clocks, the Baghdad clock and the Washington clock. The Washington clock moves sometimes faster than the Iraqi clock, but they are absolutely intertwined," he pointed out.

In reference to the position of the Iraqi government, Captain Beck said: "We would like to see resolutions passed faster, and Washington would like to see the political process moving faster."

He acknowledged that the political process has many factors involved in it, "and some are within themselves individuals and groups and need to have a little give and take."

"It is not all or nothing for any particular group in Iraq." He also stressed the need for compromise on all sides.

In answer to another query, Captain Beck confirmed that this September there will be a reassessment of the situation following the surge to see whether it is positive or negative. "We are going to give a true and accurate appraisal of the whole plan. If it isn't working then we have to look again at the situation," he added.

The senior US military spokesman said: "What do ordinary Iraqis in the street want? They want to be able to take their kids to school, they want to be able to buy food in the market, and they want a safe and secure Iraq. The US and coalition soldiers are there fighting and dying to ensure a safe and stable Iraq. The US and coalition partners are working diligently and very hard in a very complex situation."

In a related development, Captain Beck said the US does not want to be an occupying force in Iraq. He said: "We can't change history, we can make history," he said in reference to the US determination to improve the security situation in Iraq.

He admitted that the war on terror is not going to be fought and won overnight. "It needs a generation."

On Iran, Captain Beck sharply criticized Tehran for interfering militarily and politically in Iraqi affairs.
He reiterated the American and British accusations that Iran is funding, arming and training Iraqi insurgents.

"Iran is playing a negative influence in the country and day by day there is mounting evidence of that," he said. The senior US military spokesman accused Iran of supplying horrific pieces of armaments that pierce through armored vehicles "like hot knives through butter. These armaments have the markings of Iranian weaponry," he said.

Captain Beck was affiliated with the US Navy Reserves in 1992, became a public affairs officer and remained attached to the US Navy Office of Information. Prior to arriving at the US Central Command, he was attached to the US Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia.