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6/14/04 - VIOLENCE IN IRAQ - 2004-06-15

As the U.S.-led coalition moves to turn over sovereignty to an interim government on June 30th, terrorist violence continues in Iraq. One of those murdered recently was Kamal al-Jarah, an official of Iraq’s education ministry. In a separate incident, gunmen killed Bassam Salih Kubba, Iraq’s deputy foreign minister.

Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. National Security Adviser, says that the weeks leading up to the transfer of power will be difficult:

“These are very sad events, when Iraqi patriots are gunned down by these traitors and by these terrorists. And indeed, there will continue to be violence, because these are people who have no future in a free Iraq.”

The strategy of the terrorists seems clear. Anyone associated with Iraq’s interim government is a target. Security is a major issue in Iraq. Ghazi al-Yawar, Iraq’s interim president, says the terrorists want to return Iraq to what he calls “the dark days”:

“We are practical. We are realistic. We know that we lack enough security forces and capabilities, in order to depend one-hundred percent on our forces.”

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says terrorism will not deter the emergence of a free Iraq:

“When you have difficult situations, as we’re having now, with officials being assassinated and bombs going off, people see this on television, and they begin to question. And we have to keep reinforcing....why it makes sense for us to stay the course, and keep reminding people that a very tyrannical, terrible regime that filled mass graves, that did terrible things to its own people, and that was a destabilizing influence in the region, is gone.”

When the insurgency is defeated, says Secretary of State Powell, “the process of democratization, constitution writing, elections, and reconstruction will move rapidly,” And the coalition is “going to be there to help the Iraqi people.”