BAGHDAD, (AP) – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said her latest trip to Iraq is intended to promote fresh political gains she says are flowing from government-led assaults on radical militias.
Rice’s brief heavily guarded visit was not announced in advance. That is the security precaution adopted by all top U.S. officials who remain targets of the anti-American insurgents five years after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Rice was seeing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his Kurdish president and other top officials. She was honoring Americans killed in the Green Zone, the protected compound that houses the U.S. embassy and much of the Iraqi central government.
Rice told reporters she sees signs that al-Maliki’s assaults on militia forces in Basra last month has brought sectarian and ethnic groups together in an unprecedented way. She says she wants to capitalize on that cohesion.