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6/29/03 - MAKING IRAQ SECURE - 2003-06-30

Ten weeks have passed since the removal of the regime of Saddam Hussein. Since then, the U.S.-led coalition has been focused on making Iraq secure. Iraq is still a dangerous place. There have been frequent attacks on coalition forces, including the June 24th murder of six British soldiers in the southern Iraqi town of Majar al-Kabir.

As President George W. Bush said, “Dangerous pockets of the old regime remain loyal to it and they, along with their terrorist allies, are behind deadly attacks designed to kill and intimidate coalition forces and innocent Iraqis”:

“Our military is acting decisively against these threats. In Operation Peninsula Strike and Operation Desert Scorpion, our forces have targeted Baath party loyalists and terrorist organizations. In Baghdad, more than twenty-eight-thousand American combat forces and military police are enforcing the law and arresting criminals. We are also training Iraqis to begin policing their own cities.”

As civil administrator Paul Bremer said, “With the help of Iraqis, we have confronted looting and sabotage, secured critical sites, and called police officers back to work.” On one recent night, said Ambassador Bremer, “two-thousand Iraqi police officers patrolled Baghdad streets alongside coalition soldiers. Within two weeks, we will start inducting soldiers into a new Iraqi army, which in time will secure Iraq´s borders. Today, Iraqis feel safer leaving their homes, Baghdad traffic jams are back, and there is exuberant retail activity on the streets.”

Iraq’s success depends on both security and development. Billions of dollars taken from Iraqis by the Saddam Hussein regime have been recovered and will be spent on reconstruction. Iraq is already selling oil again on world markets.

As President Bush said, “For the people of free Iraq, the road ahead holds great challenges. Yet at every turn, they will have friendship and support from the United States of America.”