Trying Diplomacy in Person, in Iraq

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State Department's Horatio Ureta

Horatio Ureta spent more than nine months as a State Department political officer in Anbar province. hide caption

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Horatio Ureta spent more than nine months as the political officer assigned to the Provisional Reconstruction Team for the State Department in Anbar province. He recently returned to the United States, and says the situation in Anbar improved greatly while he was there.

The province is safer, and living conditions — access to clean water and electricity, and economic development — have improved, Ureta tells Michele Norris.

He also says Al-Qaida in Iraq has been expelled from Anbar, which he attributes to local Iraqis, who he said were "fed up" with the group.

"The Anbaris are saying, 'OK, we're not particularly thrilled with the U.S. presence per se, but what do the Americans offer? They're offering us clean water, schools and stability," Ureta says. "What is al-Qaida offering us? Effectively nothing, except extreme Wahhabism and a murderous, intimidation regime that is going to lead only to further despair and no economic development."

"It is extremely important for the United States to succeed in Iraq — not just for the Iraqis, not just for the U.S., but effectively for the region and the world," Ureta says.



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