Facing the Threat Posed by Iranian Regime


March 09, 2006
U.S. Department of State
Secretary Condoleezza Rice

Secretary Condoleezza Rice - Opening Remarks before the Senate Appropriations Committee ... We do not have a problem with the Iranian people. We want the Iranian people to be free. Our problem is with the Iranian regime and these programs are intended to help us reach out to them.

FY 2006 Supplemental Budget Request

Secretary Condoleezza Rice

Opening Remarks before the Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC
March 9, 2006

SECRETARY RICE: I would have been happy to have Secretary Rumsfeld begin, but I'm happy to start. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the members of the Committee for receiving us in this format. I think that it demonstrates the importance that we attach to the deepest cooperation between the Department of State and our political and diplomatic activities and the Department of Defense and our military activities. We believe that both are necessary to win the war on terrorism and to develop stable democracies that can give people hope that can supplant the ideologies of hatred that led people to fly airplanes into our buildings on September 11th.

This is a hearing on the supplemental and I wanted to just begin with one word about why the requests are here in a supplemental and then to just briefly talk about a few of the areas for which we are requesting funding. I have a complete statement, but I will not read that statement, Mr. Chairman, but I would like to ask that it be entered into the record in its entirety.

CHAIRMAN COCHRAN: Without objection, it's so ordered.

SECRETARY RICE: Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee, natural disasters and the course of war do not take into account our budget timelines and practices and it is therefore necessary --

AUDIENCE OBSERVER: How many of you have children in the illegal and immoral war? How many of you have children in this illegal and --

CHAIRMAN COCHRAN: Sergeant-at-Arms, please restore order.

AUDIENCE OBSERVER: How many children in this illegal and immoral war --

CHAIRMAN COCHRAN: The Committee will come to order.

AUDIENCE OBSERVER: The blood is on your hands and you cannot wash it away. The blood is on your hands and you can not wash it away.

(The audience observer is escorted from the hearing room.)

CHAIRMAN COCHRAN: Madame Secretary, you may proceed.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Natural disasters and the course of war don't take into account our budget timelines and practices and it is necessary therefore in the course of what is a very dynamic process in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and the regions in which we are dealing to sometimes make requests that are out of the normal budget cycle.

As Secretary Rumsfeld has said in his testimony, the enemy is changing and adapting and we must do that, too. Sometimes we are adapting to changes that the enemy has made. Sometimes we are responding to humanitarian crises that come along unplanned for. And sometimes we are responding to new opportunities that emerge in what is a very dynamic world.

The supplemental request before the Congress has requests for funding that will advance our security and economic and political goals in Iraq and Afghanistan, target urgent humanitarian relief and peacekeeping efforts for Darfur and southern Sudan, provide emergency food aid for Africa and earthquake relief and reconstruction for Pakistan, and launch democracy promotion activities for Iran.

I would like briefly to just speak to each of these, Mr. Chairman.

In Iraq, we are seeing side-by-side contradictory processes in the continuation of violence, which we acknowledge, but at the same time a political process that is well underway in which most Iraqis believe their future interests can be accommodated. The Iraqis have had three elections in one year and they are now in the process of the formation of a permanent government, but they still face a very determined enemy, an enemy that would like to see that political process halted so that Iraq might devolve into chaos and conflict.

Our military is doing a very fine job of both training Iraqis to take on this fight themselves and continuing operations against the enemy. The contribution that we believe that we can make in the State Department to this counterinsurgency effort is to recognize that any counterinsurgency -- any insurgency must be defeated not just militarily but also politically.

And so the funding that is requested on Iraq is for the effort to support counterinsurgency operations and stabilization operations in the following ways:

First of all, to build central government capacity for the Iraqis, national capacity in their ministries. They must be able to administer services themselves. They must be able to have a reasonable ability to deliver services for their people. It is no surprise that these are bureaucracies and ministries that have needed to be completely reformed as Iraq moves from a dictatorial society, one in which ministers were political choices of the dictator, one in which capacity was not the issue and efficiency and effectiveness were not the issue, but political loyalty, and in which we found ministries that indeed have very little modern capacity to govern.

And so the Embassy, working with the Iraqi Government, has been developing a plan for ministry assistance -- ministry assistance teams and that is represented here in the supplemental request.

Secondly, Iraq is finally moving from a more centralized state in -- where everything happens in Baghdad to one in which the constitution grants considerable authority to the provinces. We think that this is, in fact, a very good thing and we have put together a set of provincial reconstruction teams that will support the development of provincial leadership, government, and capacity and also, that can contribute to the counterinsurgency effort by establishing provincial governance, provincial infrastructure programs once an area has been cleared of the insurgency.

We have already funded, from our own resources, some of these teams, but we will need follow-on funding to continue to roll out a provincial reconstruction team structure that will allow us to be close to the action in defeating -- as the insurgents, as the terrorists are defeated, to build provincial capacity and infrastructure capacity at the local and provincial level.

There is also a relatively small infrastructure sustainment element here. This is not, and I'd like it not to be misunderstood as such, another effort to bring more infrastructure money of the kind that we had in the almost $20 billion that was requested and approved by Congress some years ago, but rather, we believe that the investments that we have made need to be sustained with maintenance and operations. We are encouraging the Iraqis to build that into their budgets over time.

This budget also -- this supplemental would also support Afghanistan. The issues there are debt forgiveness, refugee assistance, and some reconstruction efforts in terms of power. It would support the Pakistan reconstruction efforts where, because of the issue of timeliness, we, in some cases, actually had to move funds around in order to be timely in support of those efforts after the Pakistan earthquake, but also to fulfill the pledges that the United States has made to Pakistani reconstruction. Finally, I'd like to just mention -- well, we would also -- we are also requesting here humanitarian relief and peacekeeping for the dire situation in Darfur and in southern Sudan.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to say just a word about the request here for democracy promotion money for Iran. We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran, whose policies are directed at developing a Middle East that would be 180 degrees different than the Middle East that we would like to see develop. This is a country that is determined, it seems, to develop a nuclear weapon in defiance of the international community that is determined that they should not get one. It is the country that is the central banker for terrorism, whether that terrorism is in southern Iraq or in the Palestinian territories or in Lebanon.

And in all of those cases, Iranian support for terrorism is retarding and in some cases, helping to arrest the growth of democratic and stable governments. And Iran, of course, has a terrible human rights effort and a country in which an unelected few are frustrating the desires and wishes of the Iranian people for democracy.

We have proposed a $75 million package that would allow us to broadcast more effectively in Iran, better messaging for Iran. We have proposed money that would be used for innovation in our efforts to reach the Iranian people through websites and modern technology. We have also proposed that we would be able to support non-governmental organizations that can function in Iran and in many ways, most importantly, to improve and increase our educational and cultural outreach to the people of Iran.

I want to say, Mr. Chairman, that there is nothing more important, as we try and make certain that the Iranian government recognizes that it will be isolated if it continues down this path, that we not isolate the Iranian people and these programs are, in many ways, critical to not isolating the Iranian people. We do not have a problem with the Iranian people. We want the Iranian people to be free. Our problem is with the Iranian regime and these programs are intended to help us reach out to them.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I will be glad to take questions after the other statements.

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