print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > April 2003

Operation Iraqi Freedom

For Immediate Release
April 24, 2003

Global Message

A Look Back: The President on Peace & Freedom in the Middle East, February 26, 2003

Progress towards freedom, democracy, and reconstruction in Iraq is occurring amid positive developments that can help the cause of peace among Palestinians and Israelis. The President's speech on February 26 to the American Enterprise Institute addressed these topics directly.

The first to benefit from a free Iraq would be the Iraqi people themselves. They live in scarcity and fear, under a dictator who has brought them nothing but war, misery, and torture. Their lives and freedom matter little to Saddam Hussein, but matter greatly to us.

Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own: We will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more. The nation of Iraq - with its proud heritage, abundant resources,and skilled, educated people - is fully capable of achieving democracy and living in freedom.

The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life, and there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East.

The United States and other nations are working on a road map for peace. We are setting out the necessary conditions for progress toward the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. It is the commitment of our government to implement the road map and to reach that goal.

A Palestinian state must be reformed and peaceful and abandon forever the use of terror.

For its part, the new government of Israel - as security improves - will be expected to support the creation of a viable Palestinian state and work toward a final status agreement, and settlement activity must end.

And the Arab states will be expected to meet their responsibilities to oppose terrorism, support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Palestine, and state clearly that they will live in peace with Israel.

Old patterns of conflict in the Middle East can be broken, if all concerned will let go of bitterness, hatred, and violence, and get on with the serious work of economic development, and political reform, and reconciliation.


Japan is actively engaged in humanitarian and reconstruction efforts for Iraq. So far, Japan has announced assistance totaling as much as $207.5 million, and has sent civilian experts from the public and private sectors to Iraq to cooperate with the U.S. Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA).

The first of two 50,000 ton shipments of Australian wheat purchased by the World Food Program (WFP) was unloaded in Kuwait on Saturday, April 19. It was the first major delivery of food to Iraq since the conflict began and sufficient to feed about 1.7 million Iraqis for six months.

A second ship carrying a further 50,000 tons of wheat will be unloaded at Aqaba, Jordan, to enable WFP to open up a western corridor for humanitarian food aid.


Brief accounts of Iraqis' embracing religious freedom without fear of punishment from Saddam's regime.

"We are happy because we can follow our religion and Saddam Hussein is gone."
Ziat Haddi, an Iraqi farmer, The Gazette (Montreal,Quebec), 4/22/03

"More than 1 million Shiites have been marching to Karbala, eager to reach the shrine in time for today's mass rites. They have marched, as tradition prescribes, because their annual season of mourning has come to an end. And this year, they have marched because they could. This is the first time in decades that Iraq's Shiites have been free to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the prophet Muhammad."
The Orlando Sentinel, 4/22/03