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Gen. Petraeus Testifies on Iraq


From the studios of NPR West, this is Day to Day. I'm Madeleine Brand.


And I'm Alex Cohen. Coming up, our colleague Alex Chadwick is in Pennsylvania. That's the site of the next big primary contest for the Democratic presidential contenders.

BRAND: First though, we go to the Senate, where the top U.S. commander in Iraq and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq are testifying. It will be a long day for David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker. Senators are questioning them about whether or not the surge is working and when troops can come home. The U.S. has begun withdrawing troops after last year's build-up, but increased violence in Iraq in recent weeks has raised questions about that strategy.

BRAND: General Petraeus says the military should halt that withdraw this July, so that commanders can evaluate the security situation in Iraq.

General DAVID PETRAEUS (Commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq): While security has improved in many areas and the Iraqi security forces are shouldering more of the load, the situation in Iraq remains exceedingly complex and challenging. Iraq could face a resurgence of al-Qaeda Iraq or additional Shia groups could violate Muqtada al-Sadr's cease-fire order and return to violence. External actors like Iran could stoke violence within Iraq, and actions by other neighbors could undermine the security situation, as well.

COHEN: General Petraeus also advised senators about what Iraq must do for U.S efforts to succeed. They need to strengthen their government, create budgets, and conduct elections. Failure to do so, Petraeus said, would be disastrous.

Gen. PETRAEUS: A failed state in Iraq would pose serious consequences for the greater fight against al-Qaeda, for regional stability, for the already existing humanitarian crisis in Iraq, and for the efforts to counter malign Iranian influence.

BRAND: That's General David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, testifying today before Congress on the progress in the Iraq war. Later this hour, we'll speak with NPR's Tom Bowman. He's our Pentagon correspondent, and he's following the hearings in Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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