Iraqi Official Says Countrymen Cannot Achieve Liberty Alone
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 18, 2005 "The Iraqi people cannot achieve their liberty and democracy by themselves alone. They need the support of the United States," the inspector general of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense said during an interview here.
The senior Iraqi government official, Layla Jassim Al-Moktar, was commenting on Benjamin Franklin's famous call for unity. "We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately," Franklin said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
Iraq, America and the coalition "need to hang together" to continue the fight against terrorists operating in Iraq and around the world, Moktar asserted.
Moktar believes her countrymen will ultimately defeat terrorists in Iraq. "But at the same time," she added, the new Iraqi government and security forces now require "the support of the other friendly countries."
Moktar said there is "a very small percentage of Iraqis who don't want Iraq to be democratic and free." Those people "are the losers who lost much of their interests" after Saddam Hussein was deposed in 2003, she said.
She also acknowledged that insurgents "from other countries, maybe from the adjacent countries to Iraq, are coming inside Iraq to fight."
Moktar compared the insurgency in Iraq to an infection, noting, "when you get a small cold or flu, the whole body doesn't feel well." Iraq has 25 million people, and the insurgency amounts to "a small sickness or illness" in the populace, Moktar said.
The security situation in Iraq today "looks a little bit better than before," Moktar reported. To further improve security, she said, her country's new army and other security forces require more training, weapons and supplies. In the later years of Saddam's rule the Iraqi Army was poorly outfitted and supplied, she said.
Acquiring new and modern weapons would provide Iraq with "a good army" that will be used for national defense and not to wage war on neighbors, Moktar said.
Moktar said she believes things will get better in Iraq in the coming months and years. "Iraqis want that to happen," she said.
The people of the United States and members of its armed forces have Moktar's thanks for starting "a great mission in Iraq," she said.
She also asked Americans to remain Iraq's ally in the war against terrorism and "to complete this mission, appropriately and properly, until the end."