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7/5/03 - OPERATIONS IN IRAQ - 2003-07-07

The U.S.-led coalition continues to maintain security in Iraq, even as preparations proceed for the first steps toward Iraqi self- government. Coalition forces completed Operation Desert Scorpion which resulted in the detention of more than one-thousand-three-hundred individuals suspected of being connected to the former regime of Saddam Hussein. In addition, the coalition found five-hundred rifles, one-hundred rocket-propelled grenades, nine-million U.S. dollars, and one-and-a-half billion Iraqi dinars.

“The liberation of Iraq is complete,” said U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “But our war with terrorists in Iraq continues”:

“Coalition forces drove Iraq's terrorist leaders from power, but unlike traditional adversaries that we’ve faced in the wars past, who sign a surrender document [and] hand over their weapons, the remnants of the Baath regime and the Fedayeen death squads faded into the population and have reverted to a terrorist network. We are dealing with those remnants in a forceful fashion.”

As Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said, the coalition expects “various types of attacks to continue,” at least for a while:

“You have criminals that were let out of prison, the guess is tens of thousands of Iraqi prisoners were put out on the street. You have the remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime: the Baathists, the Fedayeen Saddam, some army people, some Special Republican Guard people. You have busloads of people from other countries, Syrians. We stopped some buses. And we find people from other nations who came to oppose the coalition. There are clearly people that are being influenced by Iran.”

The security problem in Iraq will be dealt with, especially as the Iraqis assume more and more responsibility for governing their country. “The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time,” said President George W. Bush, “but it is worth every effort.”