“We are not trying to dominate (Iraq), nor do we intend to stay here for ever. We also know that we will never be able to reduce violence completely – but we are committed to try and turn around the situation for the better before we leave.” -Major-General William B. Caldwell, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Effects and spokesman for the multi-national coalition force in Iraq
Attack on Iran? No way, says US General khaleejtimes
By Anand Sagar (Assistant Editor)
26 February 2007
DUBAI — Contrary to growing regional and international concerns, the US has “no intention of getting into any conflict” in Iran, according to a high-ranking US general serving in Iraq.
However, Major-General William B. Caldwell, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Effects and spokesman for the multi-national coalition force in Iraq, said here yesterday there was evidence to suggest cross-border smuggling of “weapons and ammunition” from Iran into Iraq to arm Shia militia groups there. General Caldwell was in Dubai yesterday to meet senior editors and journalists and also visited Khaleej Times.
Commenting on the ground realities in Iraq, he added, one “major shift” in the scenario is, for the first time “we have the full political commitment most needed to secure and stabilise the internal situation in Iraq.”
Under the new Iraqi-led Operation “Fard Al Qanoon” (Enforcement of Law and Order), effectively supported by the coalition forces, Baghdad has been divided into 10 districts to better combat continuing sectarian violence and restore some semblance of normalcy.
Moreover, General Caldwell added, as far as this new security plan is concerned, Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki has given a “carte blanche” in pursuit of this joint objective and “no area and no person is now off limits.”
In response to a question by this reporter regarding the viability of a military solution as opposed to a political one in this context, he said, “Of course, the political process is the key. And the Iraqi government also needs to demonstrate that it has no sectarian bias.”
Following a series of new initiatives, he said, “We are most hopeful we can change the dynamics in Baghdad.”
Questioned about whether how soon the US troops might begin a gradual reduction or withdrawal, as has already been announced by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, he said: “We too desire to begin withdrawing our forces. But we will not do it and we will not leave, until we feel the Iraqi government has the capability to ensure the country’s safety and security.”
General Caldwell said categorically: “We are not trying to dominate (the country), nor do we intend to stay here for ever. We also know that we will never be able to reduce violence completely – but we are committed to try and turn around the situation for the better before we leave.”