Secretary Condoleezza Rice made another suprise visit to the city of Mosul, Iraq, coming less than 6 months since her last trip in May [See DEL here]. In the May DEL post:
"Her primary goal, it would appear, is to support the legitimacy of the current elected government while encouraging the Kurds and Shiites to be as inclusive as possible with the Sunnis. Her visit serves two other purposes as well: to remove the spotlight from the recent bombings and refocus world attention on building a democratic Iraq, thereby reducing the media influence of the militants, and to buttress work being done on an acceptable constitution."
Secretary Rice's goals are similar, to bring about cooperation among the various factions in Iraq to promote Iraq's democracy and to refocus the media attention back to the long-run goals of the Administration. The Guardian reports on her trip:
"'We do support the principles of democracy and support efforts to bridge the differences among Iraqis,' Rice said following a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
Divisions 'may be differences of history or tradition, culture or ethnicity, but in a democratic process these differences can be a strength rather than a handicap,'' she said."
To encourage democracy in the Middle East, the State Department has two initiatives.
"[I am] very much looking forward to going to the Forum for the Future in Bahrain. We are going to establish the first two institutions of the Broader Middle East Initiative: the Fund for the Future, which will be a set of equity investments in small businesses and medium size businesses to try and help stimulate private economic development. It is a fund that is anticipated to be at about $100 million. We will also establish the Foundation for the Future, and that foundation will make grants -- it's anticipated to be about a little over $50 million -- anticipated to make grants to democracy organizations, NGOs in the region that want to promote equality for women, that want to promote the development of political parties and free press, and so forth.
And the remarkable thing about this is that we're going to have Arab partners, Middle Eastern partners, in both of these ventures. And so I'm very much looking forward to that."
The dollar amounts however are small, but they are a start. It will have to be Iraq as a model of democracy that, over time, will inspire change in the Middle East. That is why winning the war in Iraq is a critical piece in spreading liberty and democracy and reducing instability and the threat of terrorism.