- By Laura RozenLaura Rozen writes The Cable daily at ForeignPolicy.com.
In an interview with Fox News’ James Rosen conducted in Baghdad Saturday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated the administration’s policy regarding Hamas:
MR. ROSEN: Without getting hung up on the name that is attached to it, do you and President Obama subscribe to the Bush doctrine, by which I mean, roughly speaking, for the purpose of our conversation, the view that if you harbor, clothe, feed, or otherwise materially aid a terrorist, then you, yourself, are a terrorist? Is that a doctrine to which you and President Obama subscribe?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as you’ve heard from us in the last nearly 100 days we will not deal with Hamas unless they renounce violence, recognize Israel, and agree to abide by prior Palestinian Authority agreements. We do not in any way support the kind of extremists that you see. What we are looking for is to separate out those who are, as we found in Iraq, part of an armed campaign for political reasons that can be reconcilable.
We began to turn Iraq around, as you remember, under President Bush, even with that doctrine, when the military began to work with groups of people, particularly the so-called Sons of Iraq, and The Awakening, who, months before, had taken up arms against Americans and other Iraqis. And the thinking was, we need to separate out those who are there for reasons having to do with their own political and cultural and historic ties, as opposed to the hard core extremists and terrorists.
I think that the general principle that we don’t associate with these people is absolutely the same. But the opportunity, as we found under the Bush administration, in Iraq, is worth exploring with those elements of the Taliban that are there because they pay better than the Afghan police force pays, for example.
So, what we’re attempting to do is to follow what turned out to be a smart strategy in Iraq and other places, with the same level of caution, the same level of skepticism, but understanding that we don’t do business with the terrorists, but we may do business with people who got swept up in some kind of move that doesn’t necessarily define their attitude toward the United States, or the use of violence.