US ‘arrogant’ in Iraq, says Diplomat

  

Violence in Baghdad has risen 22 per cent during Ramadan

A senior American diplomat has told Aljazeera that the United States has shown “arrogance” and “stupidity” in Iraq, but warned that failure would be a disaster for the entire region.

“We tried to do our best [in Iraq] but I think there is much room for criticism, because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq,” Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the bureau of Near Eastern affairs at the US state department, said in the interview, aired on the Arabic channel late Saturday.Fernandez also declared that the US was ready to talk with any Iraqi group – except al-Qaeda in Iraq – to end the growing sectarian violence and the continuing insurgency.“We are open to dialogue because we all know that, at the end of the day, the hell and the killings in Iraq are linked to an effective Iraqi national reconciliation,” he said, speaking in Arabic from Washington.“The Iraqi government is convinced of this,” he added.

The occupier has started to search for a face-saving way out. The resistance, with all its factions, is determined to continue fighting until the enemy is brought down to his knees and sits on the negotiating table or is dealt, with God’s help, a humiliating defeat”

-Abu Mohammed, spokesman for Saddam’s Baath Party

Negotiations
Fernandez was interviewed after a spokesman for Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Baath Party said that the United States was seeking a face-saving exodus from Iraq and that insurgents were ready to negotiate but would not lay down their arms.

Abu Mohammed, the spokesman, set a series of conditions which would have to be met before talks with the Americans could begin.

His demands included the return to service of Saddam’s armed forces, the scrapping of every law adopted since Saddam was removed from power, the recognition of insurgent groups as the sole representatives of the Iraqi people and a timetable for the gradual and unconditional withdrawal of US and other foreign troops in Iraq.

“The occupier has started to search for a face-saving way out. The resistance, with all its factions, is determined to continue fighting until the enemy is brought down to his knees and sits on the negotiating table or is dealt, with God’s help, a humiliating defeat,” Abu Mohammed said.

Removed from reality?
Fernandez responded to the comments saying; “There is an element of the farcical in that statement …They are very removed from reality”.

The diplomat’s remarks were part of a series of bleak assessments of the situation in Iraq from senior US officials in recent weeks.

President Bush has conceded that “right now it’s tough” for US forces in Iraq and Major General William B. Caldwell, the US military spokesman in Iraq, admitted that attacks in Baghdad were up 22 per cent in the first three weeks of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, despite a two-month old US-Iraqi drive to bring the violence under control.

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