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1/4/04 - SECURITY IN IRAQ - 2004-01-05

In 2003, the U.S. led an international coalition to enforce United Nations resolutions and remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power. By acting in Iraq, the coalition freed twenty-five million people from a brutal dictatorship that sought weapons of mass destruction and had ties to terrorists.

Saddam Hussein is now in custody. But attacks continue against the coalition and the Iraqi people. Daniel Senor, Coalition Provisional Authority senior adviser, says, “Iraq is now the central front in the war on terror”:

“And this war on terror has two very distinct elements that, unfortunately, often work together: elements of the former regime and foreign fighters, terrorists...that are trying to destabilize the situation. And we believe, working alongside Iraqis in this stepped up security personnel infrastructure, that we are helping them build, and that we are paying for, we can address these problems.”

Iraqis are increasingly taking on the responsibility for providing security. A new Iraqi police force and a new Iraqi army are being trained. Mr. Senor says that Iraqis are already at work patrolling Iraqi streets and making arrests:

“The numbers of Iraqi police today are approximately seventy-thousand. As far as the new Iraqi army is concerned, there are four-hundred new Iraqi soldiers on duty with the [U.S.] 4th I-D (Infantry Division].... The goal is to get –- with the Iraqi army -- is to get in the neighborhood of thirty-five to forty-thousand. As far as the police is concerned, when Ambassador [Paul] Bremer arrived here in May, there was not a single Iraqi police officer on the streets. As I said, today there are over seventy-thousand nationwide and about seven-thousand in Baghdad alone.”

As Dr. Said Hakki, senior adviser to Iraq’s Ministry of Health, says, “This country was under thirty-five years of suppression, torture, [and] intimidation. Now,” says Dr. Said, Iraq “is recovering and every day it gets better.”