D.C. power shift to change Iraq policy

Nov. 9, 2006 at 10:39 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A Democratic majority in Congress and the departure of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld mean U.S. policy change in Iraq, some major U.S. dailies said Thursday.

The Washington Post said with Democrats now controlling both houses since Tuesday's vote, and presumptive Defense Secretary Robert Gates awaiting Senate confirmation hearings, there is likely to be more pressure on the Iraqi government to rein in sectarian violence, and a growing call from Democrats to begin a reduction of U.S. troops.

The Wall Street Journal said that, as well as troop reductions, many Democrats also favor enlisting the aid of Iraq's neighbors, Iran and Syria to help quell sectarian violence in Iraq.

Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., expected to head the House International Relations Committee in the next Congress, told the Washington Post there are few new ideas left to be tried, but he was hopeful President George Bush's replacement of Rumsfeld was a harbinger of cooperation.

"You can't unscramble the omelet and the tremendous mistakes that were made after major military operations," he said. "I don't see any magical solutions, but the president may be sending a signal of a change in course."

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