The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 28, 2007

Fact Sheet: The New Way Forward in Iraq: An Update

     Fact sheet Accompanying Iraq Maps
     Fact sheet President Bush Visits Naval War College, Discusses Iraq, War on Terror
     Fact sheet In Focus: Renewal in Iraq

Today, President Bush Made Remarks At The Naval War College In Newport, Rhode Island. The President provided an update on the strategy the U.S. is pursuing in Iraq and outlined some of the indicators that will tell us if we are succeeding.

We Are Taking The Fight To The Enemy Both In Baghdad And Surrounding Regions

At This Beginning Stage Of The Offensive We Are Seeing Some Hopeful Signs.

Operation Phantom Thunder Includes Offensive Operations Outside of Baghdad. This operation focuses on defeating al Qaeda terrorists, insurgents, and militias by denying them safe havens and breaking up their logistics, supply, and communications.

In Baghdad, The Additional Forces Have Allowed Us To Establish A Presence In Areas Where Terrorists And Insurgents Had Embedded Themselves Among The People.

We Can Expect More Casualties As Our Forces Enter Enemy Strongholds That Have Never Been Challenged Before. We have suffered tragic losses and our troops face many other challenges, but General Petraeus and our commanders have a carefully laid out plan that needs time and support to succeed.

Outsiders Continue To Exploit Sectarian Tension And Distrust In Iraq.

We Are Succeeding In Anbar

Working With The Iraqis, We Have Succeeded In Reversing The Situation In Anbar Province. Last September, Anbar was seen as "lost" and an example of America's failure in Iraq, but situation has changed.

Operations In Anbar Are Showing Good Results. Our forces are going into parts of Anbar where they could not operate before and local Sunni tribes, with the help of Iraqi and Coalition forces, have driven al Qaeda from most of Ramadi.

Despite These Successes, Anbar Province Remains A Dangerous Place. Al Qaeda wants its base of operations back, and it is working to assassinate tribal sheiks and intimidate the local population. So we must prepare ourselves for more violence and setbacks ahead.

We Are Encouraged By Progress On The Local Level

Looking At Iraq From The Bottom Up Shows Encouraging Signs. We are seeing:

Iraq's Security Forces Are Improving. With the help of our troops, the Iraqi Security Forces are growing in number, becoming more capable, and coming closer to the day when they can assume responsibility for defending their own country.

We Are Keeping The Pressure On Iraqi Leaders To Meet Political Benchmarks. The slow pace of Iraqi lawmakers is frustrating, but the Iraqi Parliament is composed of members representing many different religions and ethnicities – all members of a country that is being attacked by extremists. On the benchmarks not related to legislation, the Iraqis have done better.

Much Of The Progress We Are Seeing In Iraq At The Local Level Is The Result Of The Work Of Our Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). These teams bring together military and civilian experts to help local Iraqi communities pursue reconciliation, strengthen moderates, and speed the transition to Iraqi self-reliance.

It Is Critical That We Not Withdraw From Iraq Before The Government Can Defend Itself Against Al Qaeda

Al Qaeda is the main enemy for Shia, Sunni, and Kurds alike. Al Qaeda is responsible for the most sensational killings in Iraq.

The Consequences Of Withdrawing Before The Iraqi Government Can Defend Itself Would Be Disastrous. The extremists in the Middle East know that if the Iraqis succeed, it will be a terrible blow to their ambitions.

Success In Iraq Must Not Be Measured By The Enemy's Ability To Get A Bombing Onto The Evening News. No matter how good the security, terrorists will always be able to explode a bomb on a crowded street. What we are looking for in Iraq is a government that can protect its people, deliver basic services to all its citizens, and function as a democracy even amid violence.

We Are Encouraged By The Way Iraqis Are Responding To Atrocities Intended To Inflame Passions And Provoke Reprisals. When terrorists blew up the minarets on the Samarra mosque, Iraqi leaders united immediately and took swift and aggressive actions to prevent a re-run of the violence that followed the 2006 attack.

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