Interview on Fox News with Reena Ninan
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
November 11, 2005
QUESTION: Let's start with the Mosul event.
SECRETARY RICE: Okay.
QUESTION: These trips are obviously so carefully orchestrated for security purposes. Anything surprise you on this trip?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, it was great to be able to go to Mosul and it says something that I wasn't able to go to Mosul the last time, and so there is progress there.
It's always eye-opening to spend time with provincial leaders, which I did in this case, to hear about their concerns which are in tone and tenor different than concerns in Baghdad because they're living very close to the people. And we and the United States know that in a federal system, state and local governance is as important as federal governance, if not more important. And so it was good to be with the Provincial Reconstruction Teams that are now going to hopefully bring our services and our both military and civilian people into closer contact with local and provincial officials.
And so I wouldn't call it a surprise but it was eye-opening to spend some time with these provincial leaders.
QUESTION: We're hearing early indications that there might have possibly been Iraqis involved in the Amman bombings. We know the U.S. has put a great deal of pressure in trying to seal off the Syrian border so insurgents don't come in. Do you feel that U.S. and Iraqi forces should be responsible for preventing insurgents from crossing neighboring borders as well?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think there is quite -- it's quite important that all borders be secure, but of course Jordan has demonstrated that it has a great deal of capability on its own border and I suspect that the Jordanians will work hard for that to be the case.
But we have to recognize that Zarqawi has been operating for quite a long time. He is, in fact, a Jordanian. He has been operating for quite a long time. And the idea that somehow because Iraq has been liberated the Middle East is going to be worse off, because the Iraqis are fighting a very tough insurgency, seems to me very, very short-sighted.
Because it's quite clear what Zarqawi fears most. He fears the democratic process and the democratization of Iraq. That's why they threatened in January Iraqis if they voted, and yet 8.5 million went out and voted. They threatened Iraqis in October, and yet 10 million of them went out and voted. And they're threatening now because they know that as the political process goes forward here, it is harder and harder for them to spread their ideology of hatred.
QUESTION: What would -- sorry, Dr. Rice. What will be your benchmarks for success in this election?
SECRETARY RICE: Success in --
QUESTION: In these elections in December.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, I think the fact that Iraqis have carried out, will have carried out, three successful elections. Building political democracy on the ruins of tyranny, is, in itself, a remarkable accomplishment.
I think you're also going to have the first permanent government now. Because these have been temporary governments, it's not been easy for them to develop the kind of roots that they probably need to deal with many of Iraq's problems.
I would hope that it is a government that reaches out broadly to all segments of Iraqi society. One of the messages that I've been carrying here is that while we understand communitarian interests and the interests -- Sunni interests, Shia interests, Kurdish interests, other minority interests -- this has to be one Iraq and that's going to require reaching out across sectarian lines.
And I suspect that the way the process will go is that whoever is elected will have to reach out across lines in order to form (inaudible), and so that says something about how the democratic process can contribute to the peaceful resolution of differences rather than the way that Iraq has done it to now, which is through tyranny and coercion.
QUESTION: And that's been, when I've spoken to Iraqis, one of their biggest concerns is fear in this election that one sectarian division might dominate. What would happen if that were the case with the U.S.?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think that that's not where Iraq seems to be headed. Rather, you seem to be getting very strong groupings of lots of different people with very different views. And in a democratic process that forces people then to reconcile those differences within democratic institutions, you're not likely to get extremes.
We forget that the kinds of extremes that people fear were there under Saddam Hussein. You had the situation in which a very, very small number of people who didn't just suppress the majority here but indeed killed them, put them in mass graves, used weapons of mass destruction against them. One Iraqi said to me just a couple of days ago in Washington, when you think about where Iraq is now, think about what it looked like before liberation, and you have to remember what Saddam Hussein's rule was really like.
QUESTION: Thank you so much, Dr. Rice, for your time. I really appreciate it.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.