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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 1, 2008
Statement by the President on Transfer of Security to Iraqi Forces in Anbar Province
Today in Iraq, responsibility for security in Anbar Province was transferred to Iraqi civilian authorities. Iraqi forces will now take the lead in security operations in Anbar, with American troops moving into an overwatch role. Not long ago, Anbar was one of the most dangerous provinces in Iraq. Al Qaeda was in control of almost every major population center, and its leaders intended to turn Anbar province into a safe haven from which to plan and launch further attacks against Iraqis and others in the region, as well as here at home.
Today, Anbar is no longer lost to al Qaeda - it is al Qaeda that lost Anbar. Iraqis - like countless other Muslims across the world - witnessed al Qaeda's brutality first-hand and rejected it. As a result, Anbar has been transformed and reclaimed by the Iraqi people. This achievement is a credit to the courage of our troops, the Iraqi Security Forces, and the brave tribes and other civilians from Anbar who worked alongside them.
Today's ceremony returns the 11th of 18 provinces to provincial Iraqi control. Al Qaeda and Iranian-backed Special Groups remain a threat, but the United States and the nations of Multi-National Forces-Iraq continue to stand with the Iraqis as they work to defeat these enemies and build a democracy in the heart of the Middle East. The success of Iraq will make the American people more secure and help yield the peace we all desire.
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