|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 19, 2008
Fact Sheet: Five Years Later: New Strategy Improving Security In Iraq
President Bush Discusses Global War on Terror
In Focus: Iraq
Today, President Bush spoke at the Pentagon to mark the fifth anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The past five years have been a critical time in history. U.S. troops should be proud of their partnership with Iraqis and the progress in Iraq.
The "Surge" Strategy Has Produced Dramatic Results In Iraq
The U.S. is carrying out a new strategy in Iraq based on providing population security. In late 2006, the U.S. reviewed its strategy and gave our troops a new mission under General Petraeus command centered on:
The surge is working. Since all the surge forces began operating in mid-2007:
More than 90,000 concerned local citizens are now helping to protect their communities from terrorists, insurgents, and extremists. The "Awakening" movement began in Anbar in 2006, when Sunni tribal leaders grew tired of al Qaeda's brutality and started a popular uprising. As this effort succeeded, it inspired other Iraqis to take up the fight.
As we have fought al Qaeda, Coalition and Iraqi forces have also taken the fight to Shia extremist groups many of them backed, financed, and armed by Iran. A year ago these groups were on the rise. Today, these groups are increasingly isolated, and Iraqis of all faiths are putting their lives on the line to stop these extremists from hijacking Iraqs democracy.
The U.S. has doubled the number of provincial reconstruction teams in Iraq. Teams of civilian experts are serving in all 18 Iraqi provinces, and they are helping to strengthen responsible leaders, build up local economies, and bring Iraqis together so that reconciliation can happen from the ground up.
The Stakes In Iraq Are Great
The surge has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror. In Iraq, we are witnessing the first large-scale Arab uprising against Osama bin Laden, his grim ideology, and his terror network.
Al Qaeda terrorists in Mosul will suffer the same fate al Qaeda did elsewhere in Iraq. American and Iraqi forces have driven the terrorists from many of the sanctuaries they once held and will relentlessly pursue those who have now gathered in and around Mosul.
The challenge in the period ahead is to consolidate the gains we have made and seal the extremists defeat.
While no one would argue that this war has not come at a high cost in lives and treasure, those costs are necessary when we consider the cost of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq.
Political Progress Is Taking Place In Iraq
Millions of Iraqis have risked their lives to secure a democratic future for their nation, and America will not abandon them in their time of need. The vast majority of Iraq's citizens want to live in peace, and they are showing their courage every day.
On February 3, 2008, Iraq's Presidency Council issued the Accountability and Justice Law, which will allow thousands of former Baathists to return to government jobs.
On February 13, 2008, the Council of Representatives passed two key pieces of legislation.
The Iraqi government passed a pension law in late 2007.
The central government of Iraq continues to distribute oil revenue to provinces, even though the proposed oil law is still being negotiated.
The central government of Iraq reached its 2007 target of $30.2 billion in budget revenue one month before the end of the year.
The Government of Iraq recently completed early repayment of its outstanding obligations to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and reached a new Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF.
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