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Al-Maliki On Iraqi Progress

On his visit to Washington, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Through an interpreter, Mr. al-Maliki told members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate that "Iraqis are your allies in the war on terror":

"Should democracy be allowed to fail in Iraq and terror permitted to triumph, then the war on terror will never be won elsewhere (in the world)."

Mr. al-Maliki said a new Iraq is "emerging from the ashes of dictatorship. . . .despite the carnage of extremists":

"Let me be very clear. This is a battle between true Islam, for which a person's liberty and rights constitute essential cornerstones, and terrorism, which wraps itself in a fake Islamic cloak."

"Do not think that this is an Iraqi problem," said Prime Minister al-Maliki. "This terrorist front," he said, "is a threat to every free country in the world and their citizens."

"What is at stake is nothing less than our freedom and liberty. Confronting and dealing with this challenge is the responsibility of every liberal democracy that values its freedom. Iraq is the battle that will determine the war."

President George W. Bush says that in Iraq and elsewhere, "The terrorists are afraid of democracies. That's what the murder is all about," said Mr. Bush. "People fear democracy if your vision is based upon. . . .a totalitarian view of the world. And that's the ultimate challenge facing Iraq and Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories, and that is, will the free world and the neighborhood work in concert to help develop sustainable democracy?"

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.