The insurgency in Iraq's volatile western Anbar province can be beaten but probably not until after US troops leave the country, the commander of forces in the provincial capital said Friday.
"An insurgency is a very difficult thing to defeat in a finite period of time. It takes a lot of persistence - perseverance is the actual term that we like to use," Army Col. Sean B. MacFarland, commander of 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, said in a video-teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon.
"Who knows how long this is going to actually last?" he added. "But if we get the level of violence down to a point where the Iraqi security forces are more than capable of dealing with it, the insurgency's days will eventually come to an end. And they will come to an end at the hands of the Iraqis, who, by definition, will always be perceived as more legitimate than an external force like our own."
On Monday the Defense Department announced that MacFarland's brigade has been ordered to remain in Anbar for 46 days beyond its previously scheduled departure in mid-January.