The United States is not winning the war in Iraq in the view of Robert Gates, the man set to become Washington’s new Defence Secretary. Giving evidence at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, George’s Bush’s candidate to take over from Donald Rumsfeld said a radical rethink of policy was now needed. “In my view, all options are on the table in terms of how we address this problem in Iraq, in terms of how we can be more successful and how we can at some point begin to draw down our forces,” he said.
His pessimistic view was borne out by events on the ground. Two people died in an attack on a Baghdad market and the death toll across the Iraqi capital on Tuesday was 30. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said he would be sending envoys to neighbouring countries with the goal of setting up a conference on regional security and stability. Maliki said he hoped the conference would be able to take place in Iraq but that the venue had not yet been decided.