Updated: 9:28 a.m. ET July 19, 2007
WASHINGTON - Former President Bill Clinton on Thursday criticised President George W. Bush's administration for failing in Iraq, saying there was no evidence of much-needed political or diplomatic progress.
"The point is, that there is no military victory here," he said in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America.
Clinton's wife Hillary is running for the Democratic nomination for president and she has been calling on Bush to pull troops out of Iraq.
"There is no evidence that, whether we have a good day in a particular community or region in Iraq, that we have either the political reconciliation process within the country working or any diplomatic process that's got a chance to help with the neighbors," the former Democratic president said.
Washington has been urging Iraq for months to pass important laws aimed at reconciling majority Shi'ites and minority Sunni Arabs. So far only one of the draft laws aimed at drawing Sunnis more firmly into the political process has reached the Iraqi parliament.
Bush, who has been under pressure to change the course of the increasingly unpopular war, has said he is waiting for a September progress report from his U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus.
"I believe that Gen. Petraeus is a very able man and I don't have any doubts that they'll win some battles," Clinton said. "I hope this works. I think every American hopes this works. But it can't work beyond winning a few battles. It has to be accompanied by ... progress on the political front."
Clinton later told reporters in Johannesburg, where he was attending the launch of an exhibit dedicated to anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, that it was up to the Iraqis to find the way out of the current impasse.
"If they (Iraqis) don't find a way to end the violence eventually, their capacity to govern will be so eroded that it will become more and more difficult to govern," he said.
"They are going to have to make a politcal agreement among themselves and the United States will have to continue with diplomatic initiatives to cement it."
"I was thrilled when we met with the Iranian and Syrians, but disappointed that we have not met again," Clinton said, referring to discussions with Iraq's neighbours that some analysts say could be important players in any future solution to Iraq's problems.
"There is no military solution to this problem, we can't impose a military solution," he said.
On Monday, Bush's fellow Republicans in the Senate blocked a Democratic proposal to force a withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq.
(additional reporting by Felix Bate in Johannesburg)
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