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7/10/04 - IRAQIS SECURING IRAQ - 2004-07-12

Iraq’s new leaders are taking measures to improve security. Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has signed a law giving the government the power to impose emergency measures, including martial law.

Terrorist attacks continue to threaten Iraq’s stability and prospects. But Iraq is a world away from the brutal dictatorship imposed for more than two-decades by Saddam Hussein. As President George W. Bush said, “Saddam Hussein was a threat”:

“He was a threat to the neighborhood. He was a threat to the people of Iraq. He harbored terrorists. Mr. [Abu Musab al-] Zarqawi, [who] continues to kill and maim inside Iraq, was in the country prior to our arrival. Saddam Hussein had the intent, he had the capability, and the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.”

Iraq is no longer governed by a dictator. Iraq’s interim government has been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council and by countries around the world. David Oddson, prime minister of Iceland, visited the White House, where he thanked President Bush for the U.S.-led coalition’s efforts:

“The future of Iraq -- of the world -- is much better because of the undertaking of the United States, the United Kingdom and their alliance took there. And without that done, the situation in that area of the world would be much more dangerous than it is now. There’s hope now. There was no hope before.”

Fifteen months ago, Iraq was a state sponsor of terrorism. Today, Iraq's leaders are fighting terrorists. Fifteen months ago, the regime in Baghdad was the most repressive in the Middle East, and a constant source of fear for its neighbors. “Today,” says President Bush, “Iraqis live under a government that strives for justice, upholds the rule of law, and defends the dignity of every citizen.”