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Wednesday 13 December 2006 at 10:26

To Stem Iraqi Violence, U.S. Aims to Create Jobs

[Paul A.] Brinkley, [deputy undersecretary of defense], who returned last night from a trip to Iraq with his team, said thousands of Iraqis lost their jobs and the ability to support their families when CPA [Coalition Provisional Authority] projections dimmed. Unrest followed the absence of work.

"After three years of unemployment in excess of 50 percent, there are no people in the world that wouldn't be undergoing violence and militias," Brinkley said. "That's human nature. And I think we have to do whatever we have to do to alleviate that problem if we are going to create stability."

So far, members of the task force have visited 26 factories in some of the worst areas of the country, traveling to Baghdad, Fallujah, Mosul, Najaf and Ramadi to inspect facilities that make cement, tile, rubber and textiles. They have identified 10 factories -- their "hot list" of facilities in both Sunni and Shiite areas -- that they think could be open and employing more than 11,000 Iraqis within the next month.