Iraqis won't miss Rumsfeld
By Mussab Al-Khairalla 1 hour, 59 minutes ago
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The resignation of one of the main architects of the U.S.-led occupation, Donald Rumsfeld, brought some satisfaction to Iraqis on Thursday but did little to inspire confidence that a slide into chaos can be halted.
A string of car bombs in Baghdad that killed more than a dozen people on Thursday was a reminder of the daily hazards of life that preoccupy most Iraqis more than distant politics. The city has also been battered by mortar shelling in recent days.
Stung by losing control of Congress,
President Bush said his defense secretary had resigned because there was need for "fresh perspective" on
He also said his Iraq policy was "not working well enough, fast enough" and that he was open to any new ideas.
Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Rumsfeld's departure was an internal issue for the United States.
"We are dealing with an administration, not persons. We are committed to an understanding with the administration," he said.
Dabbagh said the Iraqi government agreed that progress was too slow, three and a half years after the fall of
Saddam Hussein, who was sentenced to death on Sunday.
"We feel the same, that things are not going fast enough on the security level," he said.
"There should be more coordination, there should be more say for Iraqis," Dabbagh said, noting this would be a matter for a joint committee on security activated last week as part of efforts to boost Iraqi security forces and move responsibility for security from U.S. forces to Iraqis.
"We think it's possible to have an improvement in Iraq," said Dabbagh, spokesman for the Shi'ite- and Kurdish-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has been in power for a little under six months.
FRICTION WITH WASHINGTON
Insurgent attacks and sectarian violence kill hundreds of civilians a week and the government is under growing pressure over delays in taking concrete steps to counter the violence because of internal divisions between the coalition partners.
Last month friction with Washington burst into the open over perceived U.S. pressure to set "timelines" for progress on issues such as cracking down on militias linked to Maliki's political allies and establishing a fair division of oil.
Many Iraqis expressed satisfaction after Bush's Republicans lost control of Congress amid a wave of public dismay at the course of the war in Iraq. But their reactions were tinged with general weariness of the war.
Rumsfeld's departure sparked similar feelings.
"I'm very happy because he's the defense secretary who invaded us and made our lives miserable," said Ahmed Jasim, 31, who works in a Baghdad photocopy shop.
Saadoun Jasim, 30, in the southern holy Shi'ite city of Najaf, was more concerned with daily problems such as a lack of basic services. "Where is the electricity to watch the changes in the American government?" he said.
Democrat control of the lower House of Representatives could boost pressure for a change of course in Iraq, including a gradual withdrawal of troops. Democrats also looked set to capture the Senate, or upper house, pending confirmation of a victory in the final state to declare, Virginia.
Yahya Idan, 50, a health ministry worker in Diwaniya south of Baghdad, said he did not expect the Democrat victory to change much. "(U.S.) policy is one of enmity toward Iraq. They have a special interest in Iraq and they are occupying it on that basis, not for the interest of Iraq as they claim."
Yassir Jabar, a 48-year-old labourer in Falluja in the restive western province of Anbar, said he followed the election closely. "I vowed to slaughter a goat if the Democrats win because they will put pressure on Bush, and he could fall and not complete the term of his presidency," he said.
(Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald)