U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the Bush administration is now focused on helping the Iraqi government build a lasting, stable democracy.
Ms. Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations committee Wednesday the plan is to destroy enemy sanctuaries, disrupt foreign support for the insurgents and keep Iraq from becoming a safe haven for Islamic extremists. She said Washington will deploy new civilian-military reconstruction teams to help train Iraqi police, create a justice system and assist local governments in setting up essential services. She said similar teams were deployed successfully in Afghanistan.
In the course of the hearing, Ms. Rice expressed concern that Syria is knowingly allowing Islamic militants to transit its territory to join the Iraqi insurgency. She refused to rule out the possibility of U.S. military action against Damascus.