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4 years on, peace still elusive in Iraq -

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4 years on, peace still elusive in Iraq

Broadcast: 13/08/2007

Reporter: David Lawrence

While the candidates for the US presidency jockey for position, they all know whoever is successful
will inherit the war on terror started by George W Bush.


TONY JONES: Over the weekend another three American troops were killed in a roadside bomb in the
eastern Afghanistan, bringing the US death toll to 428.

Six years on from 9/11, the hunt for the Al Qaeda leadership continues, and four years after the
invasion of Iraq with factional fighting showing no sign of easing, any prospect of peace looks as
remote as ever. David Lawrence reports.

DAVID LAWRENCE: His critics might argue it's a simplistic analogy but John Howard believes the
recent Asian Cup pointed the way to peace in Iraq.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: If they're going to take a leaf out of the book of the Iraqi soccer
team. I mean, that was a wonderful moment in Iraq's otherwise sad experience where the three groups
came together in a magnificent victory and the metaphor that that represents for the people of Iraq
is compelling.

DAVID LAWRENCE: Simplistic or not, Mr Howard's point echoes the growing international frustration
over Iraq, especially among the so-called Coalition of the Willing, and the failure of the Iraqi
leadership to address the ongoing and bloody conflict between its different ethnic and religious
groups. But it is a far from simple matter. Yesterday thousands turned out for the funeral of an
Iraqi provincial governor killed in a roadside bomb along with his police chief. Their driver and
bodyguard were also killed. The governor and his police chief were Shi'ites, but so were those
believed responsible for their deaths, members of a rival Shi'ite faction fighting for control of
the oil rich south of the country. This weekend, the beleaguered Iraqi Prime Minister facing almost
daily resignations from Sunni members of his own cabinet suggested the insurgency was being driven
by foreign intervention.

NOURI AL MALIKI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (translated): Everyone knows of the terrorism which is
happening in Iraq and which is connected to relationships with foreign countries. Unfortunately
these countries may not want to cooperate or may have a point of view which is making them give a
hand to these terrorist organisations.

DAVID LAWRENCE: He mentioned no countries by name, but for years neighbouring nations like Iran and
Syria have been accused of supplying weapons and foreign fighters to the insurgents. The eyes of
the west and the White House in particular are also on Afghanistan and Pakistan. The north western
border between the two is still seen as the breeding ground and safe haven of radical Islamist
militias, the focal point of George W Bush's global war on terror. The country's two leaders,
President Qazi and General Pervez Musharraf have just held a four day peace council or jerga with
more than 600 tribal leaders. Pervez Musharraf told the gathering hopes for peace lay with
persuading their people to reject the militant path.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTAN PRESIDENT (translation): The issue then is of winning hearts and minds
of people who are not militant and weaning them away from the diehards. It is for the Afghan
leadership and especially for respected elders and representatives of the jerga here to accomplish
this process of peace and harmony.

DAVID LAWRENCE: But peace and harmony in this region are in short supply and not just for the local
populations. Yesterday another three American soldiers died in a roadside bomb attack in eastern
Afghanistan, bringing to 428 the number killed since 2001. The US toll in Iraq is far higher,
approaching 3700 since the invasion in March 2003. Next month the American commander in Iraq,
general David Petraeus, will report to Congress on the progress of the war and what to do next.
It's now widely acknowledged millions of Americans are hoping it will include plans for a
withdrawal. David Lawrence, Lateline.