Rumsfeld exit hailed

BAGHDAD - Iraqis yesterday cheered the resignation of US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, blaming him for policy failures and scandals they say helped spawn the daily sectarian carnage in their nation.

BAGHDAD - Iraqis yesterday cheered the resignation of US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, blaming him for policy failures and scandals they say helped spawn the daily sectarian carnage in their nation.

"Rumsfeld's resignation shows the scale of the mess the US has made," said Ibrahim Ali, 44, who works at the oil ministry.

Iraq's government has yet to comment on Rumsfeld's resignation, announced on Wednesday after the US Democratic Party won a sweeping victory in mid-term elections in which voter discontent over the war in Iraq played a major role.

But Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has in recent weeks grown increasingly critical of US policies and pushed for his government to assume more responsibility for security from US-led coalition forces.

Many in Baghdad said they expect changes in the US approach under Rumsfeld's expected replacement, former CIA director Robert Gates.

"I think there will a shift in US policy in Iraq after Rumsfeld's resignation," said Osama Ahmed, 50, a civil servant. - Sapa-AP

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