|Israel Resource Review
||7th August, 2006
'No Cease-Fire' Until Hezbollah Disarmed
Dr. Kenneth Timmerman
JERUSALEM -- Israel will not agree to a cease-fire in Lebanon until Hezbollah is completely disarmed and no longer can operate as a militia force, top Israeli officials said today.
Their statements upped the ante in the diplomatic game now being played out in Arab capitals and at the United Nations headquarters in New York over the terms of a U.S.-brokered settlement to the ongoing fighting in northern Israel and Lebanon.
"If Lebanon does not agree to disarm Hezbollah, there is not going to be a cease-fire," said Brig. Gen. Yossi Kupperwasser, a deputy director of Israeli military intelligence whose term ended last month.
He was briefing reporters today on behalf of the Israeli military general staff along with Gideon Meir, director general of the Israeli foreign ministry.
Israel intends to continue military operations in Lebanon "until Hezbollah understands that it must give up its weapons," Kupperwasser said. "I don't see the Lebanese government taking up arms against them."
Nevetheless, Israel is still hoping for a diplomatic solution, "because a military solution is too costly," he added.
For Israel to completely vanquish Hezbollah on the ground would require a massive ground invasion of the country and air strikes that would inevitably kill large numbers of civilians, he said.
"That is not the goal of this operation," said Meir.
Kupperwasser said that Israel has attached 5,000 targets in Lebanon over the past month, and for each one extraordinary efforts were taken to verify that Israeli bombs would not hit civilians.
"In 4,990 cases, we did the job right. In the other cases, such as Qana, we investigate what went wrong."
An air strike on a building where Israel believed Hezbollah was hiding a rocket launcher killed 28 civilians in Qana on July 30.
He insisted that numbers of civilian casualties given by the Lebanese government were "very, very exaggerated," and included "several hundred Hezbollah members."
Israel has been able to positively identify 200 Hezbollah members it has killed in the fighting, but believes another 200 or more have been killed.
Before the war started, Hezbollah had 10,000 fighters throughout Lebanon, Kupperwasser said, including "a division" of around 3,000 fighters and support personnel along the border with Israel.
Hezbollah was not able to use its long-range Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets against Israeli targets because the Israeli air force had taken out most of the launchers in the first days of the war.
"I know how many Fajrs were supposed to be hit, but I can't tell you how many of them actually were hit," he said. He estimated that Hezbollah still has "several hundred" long-range rockets and "many thousands of short-range rockets" remaining in its stockpiles.
Some Western news agencies have incorrectly reported that Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets hit Haifa on Sunday. "They were not Fajr-5s, but Syrian-made 220 mm rockets," Kupperwasser told NewsMax.
Hezbollah has fired longer-range 302 mm rockets at targets south of Haifa, but they are also Syrian made, he added.
Mickey Rosenfeld, spokesman for the Israeli police, told NewsMax on Monday that "only a handful" of Iranian-made Fajr-3 rockets have hit Israel since the beginning of the conflict. The most spectacular strike from a Fajr-3 killed eight railway workers at a repair depot in Haifa on July 16.
Original article: http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/8/7/91412.shtml?s=lh
Kenneth R. Timmerman
President, Middle East Data Project, Inc.
Author: Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran
Contributing editor: Newsmax.com
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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President Bush and Secretary of State Rice Discuss the Middle East Crisis:
IDF in Southern Lebanon Israel is prohibited from flying over Lebanon?
[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: The "beauty" of the arrangement is that once other forces replace the IDF in Southern Lebanon Israel is prohibited from
carrying out any overflights. Thus these forces will then be able to
dutifully report that they have hermetically sealed the Syria-Lebanon border and that no weapons are reaching Hezbullah Syria regardless of reality.
The Catch-22 for Israel: if Israel wants to complain that the smuggling is
continuing it will be asked to provide evidence.
Any evidence Israel provides - with the exclusion of sattelite imagery -
would also be prima facie evidence that Israel violated Lebanon's sovereignty.]
For Immediate Release
Office of the White House Press Secretary
August 7, 2006
8:59 A.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Since the crisis in Lebanon began more than
three weeks ago, the United States and other key nations have been working
for a comprehensive solution that would return control of Lebanon to its
government, and to provide a sustainable peace that protects the lives of
both the Lebanese and the Israeli people.
Secretary Rice and diplomats from other countries are developing United
Nations resolutions to bring about a cessation of
hostilities and establish a foundation for lasting peace.
The first resolution, which the Security Council is now considering, calls
for a stop of all hostilities. Under its terms, Hezbollah will be required
to immediately stop all attacks. Israel will be required to immediately stop
all offensive military operations. In addition, the resolution calls for an
embargo on the shipment of any arms into Lebanon, except as authorized by
the Lebanese government.
A second resolution, which the Security Council will begin working on as
soon as possible, will help establish a sustainable and enduring cease-fire
and provide a mandate for a robust international force that will help the
legitimate government of
Lebanon extend it's authority over all of Lebanon's territory.
Under this second resolution, the Lebanese armed forces, supported by the
international force, will deploy to southern Lebanon. This international
force will help Lebanon patrol its border with Syria and prevent illegal arm
shipments to Hezbollah. As these Lebanese and international forces deploy,
the Israeli defense forces will withdraw. And both Israel and Lebanon will
respect the blue line that divides them.
These two resolutions are designed to bring an immediate end to the
fighting, to help restore sovereignty over Lebanese soil to Lebanese
democratic government -- to Lebanon's democratic government, excuse me -- to
strike a blow against the terrorists and their supporters, and to help bring
lasting peace to the region. By taking these steps, it will prevent armed
militias like Hezbollah and its Iranian and Syrian sponsors from sparking
another crisis. And it will protect innocent Lebanese and Israelis. And it
will help the international community deliver humanitarian relief and
support Lebanon's revival and reconstruction.
The loss of life on both sides of the Lebanese-Israeli border has been a
great tragedy. Millions of Lebanese civilians have been caught in the
crossfire of military operations because of the unprovoked attack and
kidnappings by Hezbollah. The humanitarian crisis in Lebanon is of deep
concern to all Americans, and alleviating it will remain a priority of my
I also believe that innocent civilians in Israel should not have to live in
bunkers in fear of missile attacks. To establish a lasting peace that
protects innocent civilians on both sides of the border, we must address the
underlying conditions that are the root cause of this crisis.
I believe that the two resolutions I have discussed and that Secretary Rice
is working on will put us on that path.
And now I'll be glad to answer some questions. Nedra.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Lebanon has rejected the draft proposal, and
Israel is not speaking out in support of it. How do you get a resolution
that both sides will support?
THE PRESIDENT: Everyone wants the violence to stop. People understand that
there needs to be a cessation of hostilities in order for us to address the
root causes of the problem. That was the spirit that came out of the G8
conference. It came out of the Rome conference that Secretary Rice attended.
We all recognize that the violence must stop. And so that's what Secretary
Rice is working toward with our friends and allies.
Look, everybody is -- I understand both parties aren't going to agree with
all aspects of the resolution. But the intent of the resolutions is to
strengthen the Lebanese government so Israel has got a partner in peace. The
intent of the resolution is to make sure that we address the root cause --
the resolution is to address the root cause, which was a state operating
within the state. Hezbollah was -- or is an armed movement that provoked the
And so whatever comes out of the resolutions must address that root cause.
And so the task today for the Secretary and her
counterparts is to develop a resolution that can get passed. It is essential
that we create the conditions for the Lebanese government to move their own
forces, with international help, into the south of Lebanon to prevent
Hezbollah and its sponsors from creating this -- creating another crisis.
And so that's where we're headed.
Q The Lebanese Prime Minister is demanding a quick and decisive cease-fire.
An Israeli air raid today killed 40 people. When will we see this
resolution? And if it's approved, when will we see a cessation of violence?
THE PRESIDENT: I'll let Condi talk about the details of what she's going to
do today, if you care to hear from her. But we will work with our partners
to get the resolution laid down as quickly as possible. And the resolution
will call for a cessation of violence. And the concern, by the way, from the
parties in the region is whether or not the resolution will create a vacuum
into which Hezbollah and its sponsors will be able to promote more
We all agree that we ought to strengthen this government, the Lebanese
government -- that's the purpose of the resolutions, as well as to stop the
I don't know if you want to comment upon --
SECRETARY RICE: First of all, we are working from what we believe to be a
strong basis for a cessation of hostilities, that is the U.S.-French draft,
a strong basis for the cessation of hostilities, and then as the President
said, to have a process then that can address the root causes. And we also
believe that it's going to be very important that this first resolution lay
a very quick foundation for passage of a second resolution. So these have to
be worked, in a sense, together.
I spoke last night and yesterday with Prime Minister Olmert, with Prime
Minister Siniora, with Secretary General Kofi Annan, with a number of
others, and I think we believe that there is a way forward.
Now, we understand that this has been a very emotional and, indeed,
devastating and tragic set of circumstances for Lebanon and for Israel. And
obviously, the parties have views on how to stop this. Their views are not
going to necessarily be consonant about how to stop it. The international
community has a view. But, of course, we're going to take a little time and
listen to the concerns of the parties and see how they can be addressed.
But I want to just note, we believe that the extant draft resolution is a
firm foundation, is the right basis, but, of course, we're going to listen
to the concerns of the parties and see how they might be addressed. And
that's really what's going to be going on today, particularly after the Arab
League meets and Prime Minister Siniora emerges from that.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Peter.
Q Thanks. Mr. President, officials have been quoted saying that the
international force would not include U.S. troops. And I wonder if you can
explain why that is? Is it because the military is already over-tasked? Is
it because you're afraid that the
U.S. doesn't have credibility in the region?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I think -- first of all, there has been a history in
Lebanon with U.S. troops. Secondly, I have said that if the international
force would like some help with logistics and command and control, we'd be
willing to offer logistics and command and control. There are some places
where -- it's like Darfur, people say to me, why don't you commit U.S.
troops to Darfur as part of an international peacekeeping. And the answer
there is that those troops would be -- would create a sensation around the
world that may not enable us to achieve our objective. And so when we commit
troops, we commit troops for a specific reason, with the intent of achieving
an objective. And I think command and control and logistical support is
probably the best -- is the best use of U.S. forces.
Q Many strategists say that we'll never get to the bottom of this crisis
unless the U.S. engages directly with Syria and Iran. Why not talk to them
directly about this, and have a back-and-forth conversation?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that's an interesting question. I've been reading about
that, that people have been posing that question. We have been in touch with
Syria. Colin Powell sent a message to Syria in person. Dick Armitage
traveled to Syria. Bill Burns traveled to Syria. We've got a consulate
office in Syria. Syria knows what we think. The problem isn't us telling
Syria what's on our mind, which is to stop harboring terror and to help the
Iraqi democracy evolve. They know exactly what our position is. The problem
is, is that their response hasn't been very positive. As a matter of fact,
it hasn't been positive at all.
And in terms of Iran, we made it clear to the Iranians that if they would
honor previous obligations and verifiably stop enrichment of nuclear
materials, we would sit at a table. And so there's a way forward for both
countries. The choice is theirs. Now, I appreciate people focusing on Syria
and Iran, and we should, because Syria and Iran sponsor and promote
Hezbollah activities -- all aimed at creating chaos, all aimed at using
terror to stop the advance of democracies.
Our objective, our policy is to give voice to people through democratic
reform. And that's why we strongly support the Siniora government. That's
why I've articulated a two state solution between Israel and the
Palestinians, two democracies living side-by-side in peace. That's why Condi
went to see President Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Territories,
to assure him that we're committed to a democracy. That's why we're making
sacrifices in Iraq -- to build democracy.
In other words, we believe democracy yields peace. And the actions of
Hezbollah through its sponsors of Iran and Syria are trying to stop that
advance of democracy. Hezbollah launched this attack. Hezbollah is trying to
create the chaos necessary to stop the advance of peace. And the world
community must come together to address this problem.
Let's see here. Jim.
Q Mr. President, in the last couple of weeks, every time the question was
asked why not get an immediate cessation and then build a sustainable --
terms for a sustainable cease-fire after you get the hostilities stopped, it
was categorically rejected. Yet, a few weeks later, here we are. Can you
explain why this wasn't done a couple weeks ago?
THE PRESIDENT: Sure. Because, first of all, the international community
hadn't come together on a concept of how to address the root cause of the
Part of the problem in the past in the Middle East is people would paper
over the root cause of the problem, and therefore the situation would
seemingly be quiet, and then lo and behold, there'd be another crisis. And
innocent people would suffer. And so our strategy all along has been, of
course we want to have a cessation of hostilities, but what we want to do in
the same time is to make sure that there is a way forward for the Lebanese
government to secure its own country so that there's peace in the region.
And that deals with an international peacekeeping force to complement a
Lebanese army moving into the south to make sure that Resolution 1559,
passed two years ago by the U.N., was fully upheld. Had the parties involved
fully implemented 1559, which called for the disarmament of Hezbollah, we
would not be in the situation we're in today.
Let's see here. Yes, Richard.
Q Mr. President, what are the specific stumbling blocks that are preventing
this first resolution from being passed quickly? What are the people -- what
are the parties objecting to in the language that needs to be altered?
SECRETARY RICE: I think that first of all, I don't -- I'm not going to get
into specifics about the views of the parties. I think that we have to do
that privately and talk with the parties privately. But obviously, this
particular resolution is important because it sets an agenda for the basis
for a sustainable peace. And so it will not surprise you that the Lebanese
have views of what should be on that agenda. The Israelis have views of what
should be on that agenda. They aren't always the same views, and so working
together to get to what that agenda should be is part of what's going on
But I will say something that's very interesting. There is more agreement
than you might think about how to prevent, again, a situation in which you
have a state within a state able to launch an attack across the blue line.
For instance, there is agreement that the Lebanese government needs to
extend its authority throughout the country, that it
needs to have the Lebanese armed forces move to take care of this vacuum
that has been existing in the south, that there should not be any armed
groups able just to operate in the south in the way that Hezbollah has been
able to operate in the south, that there ought to be respect for the blue
line. These are all agreements between the two parties.
And so there is going to be some pressure from both sides to get things onto
the agenda because they want to get them onto the agenda. But I think we
have a reasonable basis here that both sides can accept. I think there are
some issues of timing and sequence that need to be worked out. There are
some concerns about when an international force would actually be available.
And so we're going to continue to work to address those concerns of the two
But as the President said, this last three weeks has been extremely
important. Had we done this three weeks ago, we were talking about what
people -- an unconditional cease-fire that I can guarantee you would not
have addressed any of these items that both sides know are going to have to
be addressed if we're going to have a sustainable cease-fire in the future.
So this has been time that's been well spent over the last couple of weeks,
that everybody agrees it's time to have a cessation. We're going to work a
little bit more with the parties, and I think this resolution will be the
right basis -- both to cease the hostilities and to move forward.
THE PRESIDENT: Cheryl.
Q Mr. President, you've spoken with Prime Minister Blair and Chancellor
Merkel about this. Have you spoken directly with Prime Ministers Olmert and
Siniora? And if not, why not?
THE PRESIDENT: Because Condi is handling those conversations, and she's
doing a fine job of doing so.
Q Mr. President, you've been quite specific in Hezbollah's role as the
creator of this conflict. But what is the magnet, what is the pressure
point, what is the hook to get this group to accept a cease-fire, to stop
shooting and to stop kidnapping soldiers from across the border of another
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I would hope it would be international pressure on not
only Hezbollah, the group of Hezbollah within Lebanon, but also its
sponsors. And that's the whole purpose of the United States working with
allies and friends, is to send a clear message that sponsoring terror is
unacceptable. It's the great challenge of the 21st century, really.
Q Do you --
THE PRESIDENT: Let me finish for a minute.
Q I'm sorry.
THE PRESIDENT: It is the great challenge of this century and it's this: As
young democracies flourish, terrorists try to stop their progress. And it's
the great challenge of the United States and others who are blessed with
living in free countries. Not only do terrorists try to stop the advance of
democracy through killing innocent people within those countries, they also
try to shape the will of the western world by killing innocent westerners.
They try to spread their jihadist message -- a message I call, it's
totalitarian in nature -- Islamic radicalism, Islamic fascism, they try to
spread it as well by taking the attack to those of us who love freedom.
And as far as this administration is concerned, we clearly see the problem
and we're going to continue to work to advance stable, free countries. We
don't expect every country to look like the United States, but we do want
countries to accept some basic conditions for a vibrant society -- human
rights, human decency, the power of the people to determine the fate of
their governments. And, admittedly, this is hard work because it flies in
the face of previous policy, which basically says stability is more
important than form of government. And as a result of that policy, anger and
resentment bubbled forth with an attack, with a series of attacks, the most
dramatic of which was on September the 11th.
You know, your question is can we get people to -- a terrorist group to
change their attitude. What we can do is we can get state sponsors of terror
to understand this behavior is unacceptable, and that we can convince some
people in terrorist groups that there is a better way forward for them and
Remember, Hezbollah is a political party within Lebanon. They actually ran
people for office. The problem is, is that they're a political party with a
militia that is armed by foreign nations and, obviously, this political
party with militia was willing to try to influence the Middle East through
And what Condi is working on and I work on is to remind people about the
stakes in the Middle East. And those stakes include not only helping the
Lebanese government firm up its democracy -- remember, we worked with the
French two years ago to boot out Syria. Syria was inside Lebanon and we felt
that in order for a democracy to flourish, Syria needed to remove not only
her troops, but her agents, her intelligence agents, for example.
And, obviously, there are some in the region that don't want the Lebanese
government to succeed. I also happen to believe that as Prime Minister
Olmert was making progress in reaching out to President Abbas and others in
the region to develop a Palestinian state, that that caused a terrorist
reaction. Remember, this all started with the kidnapping of an Israeli
soldier by militant Hamas, followed shortly thereafter by the kidnapping of
two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah.
And, finally, the third most notable battleground in the advance of liberty
is Iraq. It's interesting, if you go back to the work of Mr. Zarqawi, he
talked about fomenting sectarian violence in order to stop the advance of
democracy. The challenge of the 21st century is for free nations to help
those who aspire to liberty. And, you know, the first question is, do people
aspire to liberty? And the answer is, absolutely -- look at the 12 million
people who voted in Iraq. Or look at the people who went to the polls in
Lebanon. It's just clear to me that there will be terrorist activities that
will try to stop people from living a decent, hopeful life.
And what you're watching now is the diplomatic efforts to address the
problem. I know there's -- I sense a certain impatience in your voice about
diplomacy coming to a conclusion. What Secretary Rice is doing, as well as
me, is we are dealing with a lot of different interests. Remember, each
nation at the Security Council has got its own domestic issues to deal with,
as well, and so it is -- I wish things happened quicker in the diplomatic
realm -- sometimes it takes a while to get things done. But what the
American people need to know is we've got a strategy -- a strategy for
freedom in the Middle East which protects the American people in the long
run. And we've got a strategy to deal with the situations that arise in the
Middle East -- first Lebanon; of course, the Iranian nuclear weapon issue.
And as you remember, right before the G8, the question on your mind was
would we ever get a resolution out of the U.N. on the Iranians' desire to
have a nuclear weapon, as well as whether or not we'd ever get a resolution
out of the U.N. to deal with North Korea. As a matter of fact, there was
great skepticism, I felt, in some circles, as to whether or not we'd be able
to put a diplomacy in place that would deal with these two very difficult
And, in fact, during the G8, two resolutions were passed -- by the way,
those resolutions overshadowed by the situation in Lebanon. And I'm
confident that working with our friends, if we stay on principle and remind
people of the stakes, that we'll be able to accomplish the diplomatic
objectives that we have set out -- which is dealing with this problem and
addressing the long-term issues.
A couple more questions, and we'll get out -- Suzanne.
Q If I could follow Nedra's question. She had asked, Lebanon --
THE PRESIDENT: I can't remember that far back. (Laughter.)
Q Lebanon's parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, who has been negotiating for
Hezbollah, has rejected the first resolution, saying it's unacceptable, they
want the Israeli troops to pull out immediately. Is that a negotiable point?
And, also, Secretary Rice, will you be reaching out to Berri, as you had
spoken with him before?
THE PRESIDENT: Whatever happens in the U.N., we must not create a vacuum
into which Hezbollah and its sponsors are able to move more weapons.
Sometimes the world likes to take the easy route in order to solve a
problem. Our view is, it's time to address root causes of problems. And to
create a vacuum, Suzanne, is unacceptable. It would mean that we haven't
addressed the root cause.
The idea is to have the Lebanese government move into the south so that the
government of Lebanon can protect its own territory, and that there be an
international force to provide the help necessary for the Lebanese
government to secure its country. Remember, in Germany, the first thing I
said was -- or one of the first things I said, I think I said this -- help
me out here, if I didn't --
SECRETARY RICE: I think you did.
THE PRESIDENT: -- was we want the Siniora government to survive and to be
strengthened. The linchpin of the policy is to support democracies. And so
the strategy at the U.N., the diplomatic strategy is to support that notion,
because a democracy in Lebanon will not only help that nation address its
long-term issues -- such as rebuilding, providing a hopeful life -- but a
democracy on Israeli's northern border will stabilize -- help stabilize the
region. We are committed to a democracy in the Palestinian territory.
President Abbas, in his conversations with Condi, talked about moving
forward with democracy. There are people who can't stand the thought of a
society based upon universal liberty from emerging. And that, in itself,
ought to be a warning signal to those of us who care deeply for peace, that
people would be willing to kill innocent citizens in order to stop the
advance of liberty.
Now, I've talked a lot about the universal appeal of liberty, and I readily
concede some people aren't willing to -- some say, well, you know, liberty
may not be universal in this sense -- America imposes its will. We don't
impose liberty; liberty is universal.
It's one of the interesting debates of the 21st century, I think, that some
would be willing to say it's okay for people not to live in a free society.
It's not okay for us. If you love peace, in order to achieve peace you much
help people realize that which is universal -- and that is freedom.
She asked you a question.
SECRETARY RICE: Our point of contact for the Lebanese government is
obviously Prime Minister Siniora. As you know, I've also spoken to Speaker
Berri on a couple of occasions.
I understand how emotional this is for the Lebanese. They've been through a
very difficult war. It's emotional for Israel, as well. They're in the midst
of a difficult war.
Let me just say that in terms of what the end state will look like here, I
don't think there is any disagreement that the right solution is the one
that the President referred to. It's the Lebanese, and the Lebanese armed
forces able to secure their territory. And the international help is so that
Lebanon can secure its territory. And I don't believe anybody anticipates
that there should be foreign forces on Lebanese soil as a result of what has
And so I think there is room on this issue to work on this issue, because
everybody has the same vision -- that it's the Lebanese army, with support
from an international force, that can actually prevent that vacuum from
obtaining again in the south, so that we're not right back here three or
four or five months from now, in the same situation.
Q Mr. President, I don't think we've heard from you since Fidel Castro has
fallen ill. Can you give us what you know of his current condition, what
your administration's contingency plans are for his death, and how they
address the desire of Cuban exiles in this country to eventually go home and
reclaim their property?
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, Cuba is not a very transparent society, so the
only thing I know is what has been speculated. And that is that, on the one
hand, he's very ill, and on the other hand, he's going to be coming out of a
hospital. I don't know. I really don't know.
And, secondly, that our desire is for the Cuban people to be able to choose
their own form of government, and we would hope that -- and we'll make this
very clear -- that as Cuba has the possibility of transforming itself from a
tyrannical situation to a different type of society, the Cuban people ought
to decide. The people on the island of Cuba ought to decide. And once the
people of Cuba decide their form of government, then Cuban Americans can
take an interest in that country and redress the issues of property
confiscation. But first things first, and that is the Cuban people need to
decide the future of their country.
Q Mr. President, if I could turn to Iraq for a moment.
THE PRESIDENT: Sure.
Q When you and Prime Minister Blair met at the White House a few months ago,
you were asked about mistakes and missteps. And he said the one mistake he
made was miscalculating in thinking that a young democracy, as you put it,
would be born very quickly after the fall of Saddam. Are you prepared today
to agree with him and acknowledge that you've had the same expectations,
which were wrong?
THE PRESIDENT: Actually, I think -- I can't remember his answer; I'm sure
you've characterized it perfectly. My attitude is that a young democracy has
been born quite quickly. And I think the Iraqi government has shown
remarkable progress on the political front, and that is, is that they
developed a modern constitution that was ratified by the people, and then 12
million people voted for a government -- which gives me confidence about the
future in Iraq, by the way.
You know, I hear people say, well, civil war this, civil war that. The Iraqi
people decided against civil war when they went to the ballot box. And a
unity government is working to respond to the will of the people. And
frankly, it's quite a remarkable achievement on the political front, and the
security front is where there have been troubles. And it's going to be up to
the Maliki government, with U.S. help, to use the trained forces, and
eventually a trained police force, to take care of those who are trying to
foment sectarian violence.
We've made some progress against some of those folks, particularly when Mr.
Zarqawi met his demise. Remember, al Qaeda is in the country, all attempting
to stop the advance of democracy. And the blowing up of the mosque created
an opportunity for those who were trying to foment sectarian violence to
achieve their objective. But the Iraqi people rejected that kind of
sectarian violence, the army stood strong.
No question it's still difficult. On the other hand, the political process
is part of helping to achieve our objective, which is a free country, an
ally in the war on terror that can sustain itself and govern itself and
Okay, who else? I don't want to hurt any feelings. Yes, sir.
Q Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: Identify yourself.
Q Kevin Corke, NBC News, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Right. I knew that.
Q Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Just wanted to make sure you did.
Q Yes, indeed. In reading the 1559 resolution and the draft, as it's
currently constructed, there are a lot of similarities, quite frankly. And
I'm wondering if you could speak to maybe the frustration some Americans
might be feeling that you've said we want sustainable peace, we don't want
to come back here in a few months or a few years -- and, yet, it seems like
there will be another resolution, maybe another resolution, maybe another
this, that and the other. People get frustrated. Can you understand that and
respond to that, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the people who should get really frustrated are the
Israelis and the Lebanese. They ought to be the ones who are frustrated,
because 1559 clearly laid a way forward for there to be a strong democracy
in Lebanon, which will more likely yield the peace. And there is a level of
frustration around the world with organizations that will take innocent life
to achieve political objectives. And our job is to remind people that this
isn't a moment, this is a movement, and that we must deal with this
movement. We must deal with this movement with strong security measures, we
must bring justice to those who would attack us, and at the same time,
defeat their ideology by the spread of liberty.
And it takes a lot of work. This is the beginning of a long struggle against
an ideology that is real and profound. It's Islamo-fascism. It comes in
different forms. They share the same tactics, which is to destroy people and
things in order to create chaos in the hopes that their vision of the world
become predominant in the Middle East.
And Condi and I will work hard -- by the way, the United States can't win
this war alone. We can do damage to the enemy. We can take the philosophical
high ground and remind people of the importance of how freedom can change
societies. But we will work with allies and friends to achieve this
objective. And part of the challenge in the 21st century is to remind people
about the stakes, and remind people that in moments of quiet, there's still
an Islamic fascist group plotting, planning and trying to spread their
ideology. And one of the things that -- one of the things that came out of
this unfortunate incident in the Middle East is it is a stark reminder that
there are those who want to stop the advance of liberty and destabilize
young democracies. And they're willing to kill people to do so.
I repeat, this whole incident started because Hezbollah kidnapped two
soldiers and launched rocket attacks. And it's been unfortunate that people
on both sides of the border have lost life. And we're committed to helping
the Lebanese government rebuild.
On the other hand, what we won't do is allow for a false hope. We believe
that it's important to challenge the root cause now. We thought we had done
so with 1559, but 1559 wasn't implemented. In other words, there was a way
forward to deal with the problem. And now there's another chance to deal
with the problem, and that's the role of the United States, working with
others, to not only remind people about the problem, but to come up with
solutions in dealing with the problem. And the solutions that we are working
with our friends are, in our judgment, is the best hope for achieving
stability and peace.
But it takes a lot of work. And it takes commitment and focus. And that's
what this administration will continue to do. We'll stay focused on the
problem and stay focused on coming up with solutions that, when implemented,
will leave behind a better world.
Thank you all very much for your interest.
END 9:36 A.M. CDT
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