Iraqis appear to be confident in the leaders of their new sovereign government. In a poll conducted in six cities between June 9th and June 19th, more than seventy percent say they have confidence in Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. More than eighty percent have confidence in President Ghazi al-Yawar. And four out of five Iraqis surveyed say they expect the situation in their country to get better now that sovereignty has been turned over.
But after decades of misrule by the regime of Saddam Hussein, Iraq still has many challenges to overcome, including rebuilding its infrastructure and creating a stable economy. Security remains a priority. “Foreign mercenaries and Saddamist remnants,” says Prime Minister Allawi, are “shedding innocent Iraqi blood.” As Mr. Allawi put it, “The insurgents are trying to destroy our country, and we’re not going to allow this.”
The struggle against terrorism in Iraq is first and foremost an Iraqi struggle. Forces of the U.S.-led coalition will remain, says President George W. Bush, “as long as the stability of Iraq requires, and only as long as their presence is needed and requested by the Iraqi government”:
“The terrorists are desperate and they are furious. They’re running out of places to hide. They know their cause is failing. They know that time is against them.”
The terrorists don’t want a free Iraq. They have carried out kidnappings and gruesome murders. As President Bush says, “Their actions have grown more cruel and sadistic”:
“They cover their faces in videos, in the videos of their crimes. But those hoods cannot hide the face of evil. We’ve seen their kind before, in overseas death camps and gulags.... We will fear no evil and we will prevail.”
Free men and women in Iraq will be able to realize their desire for freedom. The U.S. promised to help deliver them from tyranny, to restore their sovereignty, and to set them on the path to democracy. And when the U.S. “gives its word,” says President Bush, the U.S. “keeps its word.”