DUBAI ó General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister, has called on foreign forces in Iraq to withdraw and to give Iraqis the opportunity to govern themselves.
During a question-and-answer session with delegates of the Young Arab Leaders Forum, Gen. Shaikh Mohammed said: "Iraq has been suffering a lot with all the wars. It is time for Iraq to be independent."
"Iraqis must take responsibility for their own security and we all have to help Iraq protect its own territory," he added.
Pointing out that the US is a modern, developed country, a super power, and a great and good nation, he said: "But they made a mistake in choosing Paul Bremer (administrator of the former Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq). Bremer made mistakes in Iraq and the US admits this fact."
He called for the withdrawal of coalition troops, stating: "Armies should withdraw from the cities and streets of Iraq and make efforts for reconstruction."
Reiterating the point that the US is a great nation and a developed country, Gen. Shaikh Mohammed questioned how the US could destroy a country when their intention was to fix it. "Iraq is in chaos with no electricity, no water, no infrastructure and no security. It requires rebuilding and it is time Iraq took independence into its own hands," he said.
Gen. Shaikh Mohammed said that God gave man the brain and until he uses that, violence will give way to more violence.
He concluded his answers by asking again for the withdrawal of the coalition forces from the streets and cities of Iraq.
When asked about the future of Dubai, Gen. Shaikh Mohammed responded by saying that the country ó under the wise leadership of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Shaikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai ó has been progressing well.
"We are becoming more developed and advanced, but we are still at the beginning of the road. There is still a lot to do. We will never stop," said Gen. Shaikh Mohammed.