- The Washington Times - Monday, June 27, 2005

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari yesterday said terrorist training camps outside his country must be targeted for elimination to stem the flow of foreign insurgents illegally entering the country to wreak havoc on Iraqi citizens.

“We should look at their sources. It’s not impossible to tackle them at their sources. Some of them are based abroad. We need to tackle their bases abroad,” Mr. al-Jaafari said.

“There are bases in other countries outside our borders that are feeding these terrorist networks. They are training them. They are giving them money. What’s happening in Iraq is not isolated,” Mr. al-Jaafari said. “We cannot look at it in isolation. In fact, we should look at the impact of what’s happening in Iraq on the whole world.”

Also yesterday, American officials confirmed a British newspaper article that U.S. forces were conducting negotiations with the insurgents in Iraq, although they played down the report as unexceptional.

Mr. al-Jaafari appeared on CNN’s “Late Edition” with Wolf Blitzer and confirmed that captured insurgents say they had training in Syria and carried passports from Saudi Arabia, Sudan and other foreign countries.

“I am not saying their governments are responsible, but we are looking at their nationality. This gives us an indication that there is a reasonable dimension to this terrorism and not simply an Iraqi phenomenon. It has intermingled with these sources. We expect governments to do more to tackle this issue,” Mr. al-Jaafari said.

“I would say governments might not know what’s happening in their countries. But in reality, their countries have become hubs, where young people are being trained, are being indoctrinated to go and commit mass murder,” Mr. al-Jaafari said.

Mr. al-Jaafari, although he did accuse specific countries in this context, said some nations “are allowing loose control over their borders or transfer of monies.”

“Or some countries even are sympathetic to these insurgents.”

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld yesterday said the terrorist insurgency within Iraq’s borders ultimately will be defeated, but not by U.S. soldiers.

“We’re not going to win against the insurgency; the Iraqi people are going to win against the insurgency. That insurgency could go on for any number of years,” Mr. Rumsfeld said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Coalition forces, foreign forces are not going to repress that insurgency. We’re going to create an environment that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi security forces can win against that insurgency,” Mr. Rumsfeld said.

Mr. al-Jaafari agreed that his government will have to be the one that defeats the insurgency, saying that U.S. and other foreign troops can leave when the Iraqi military and police can handle security.

Withdrawal “can be quickly,” he said. “It depends on the capacity Iraqi police, their training, their arming, their intelligence. The more we can build them up in productive ways, the less reasons we have for having foreign troops in the country.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Rumsfeld and the top U.S. military commander in the Persian Gulf said U.S. officials have met with insurgent representatives, but said no talks were held with al Qaeda’s Iraq chief, Abu Musab Zarqawi, and said U.S. officials were aiding efforts by Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government to reach out to the Sunni minority.

According to London’s Sunday Times, insurgent commanders “apparently came face to face” with four U.S. officials on June 3 and June 13 at a villa about 25 miles north of Baghdad.

“We see the government of Iraq is sovereign,” Mr. Rumsfeld said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “They’re certainly reaching out continuously, and we help to facilitate those from time to time.”

On Fox, Mr. Rumsfeld said: “I would not make a big deal out of it. Meetings go on frequently with people.”

Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that U.S. officers and diplomats “have been talking with a broad range of people from the Sunni Arab community, some of whom obviously have some links to the insurgency.”

“This doesn’t mean that we’re talking to people like Zarqawi or people that are linked up with his organization,” he added.

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