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6/22/04 - IRAQ MOVES FORWARD - 2004-06-22


Even as the U.S.-led coalition prepares to turn sovereignty over to an interim government on July 1st, terrorists continue to try to disrupt Iraqi progress.

As Iyad Allawi, Iraq’s interim prime minister, put it, “Anyone involved in these attacks is nothing more than a traitor to the cause of Iraq’s freedom. These are not freedom fighters,” says Mr. Allawi. “They are terrorists and foreign fighters opposed to our very survival as a free state.”

President George W. Bush says that more violence can be expected in the weeks and months ahead:

“But the future of a free Iraq is now coming into view. As the interim government assumes authority, and Iraqi security forces defend their country, our coalition will play a supporting role.... The Prime Minister [Allawi] and I share the same resolve. The traitors will be defeated.”

Fourteen months have passed since the fall of Saddam Hussein and the liberation of Iraq. Since then, the country’s economy has moved forward. New businesses have opened. A new currency is in place. Dozens of political parties are organizing. Today in Iraq, more than one-hundred-seventy newspapers are being published. More than two-hundred-thousand Iraqis are either on duty or are being trained to join Iraq’s security forces.

“With each step forward on the path to self-government and self-reliance,” says President Bush, “the terrorists will grow more desperate”:

“They see Iraqis taking their country back. They see freedom taking root. The killers know they have no future in a free Iraq.... They’re doing everything in their power to prevent the full transition to democracy.”

The coalition will stand firm and Iraq’s new leaders will not be intimidated. “The terrorists will fail,” says President Bush, “because the Iraqi people will not accept a return to tyranny.”

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