US military winning trust of Iraqi people

DUBAI — US military personnel believe they are winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 12 Dec 2005, 10:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:21 PM

"We continue to gain the trust of Iraqis who are coming to the coalition with valuable pieces of intelligence in the war against terror," said Captain Frank Pascual, US Navy Director.

"We get between 250 to 300 individual pieces of information a week," he added.

Captain Pascual claimed that the information garnered from the Iraqi sources resulted in the successful discovery of insurgent weapons caches.

"It has also helped defuse landmines throughout the country. Of the weekly information tips, only a handful don't pan out," Captain Pascual claimed.

He also suggested that more and more Iraqis were joining the security and police forces and becoming actively involved in the political process. "We're looking forward to the upcoming elections," he said.

"This is the next step in developing democracy for the people of Iraq. We continue to conduct operations against Al Qaeda, which is trying to create fear in the population," he added.

Speaking about the possible withdrawal of the US and coalition troops from Iraq, Captain Eric Clark from the US army said: "If the coalition forces were removed today, there would be a huge power vacuum."

"We've very deliberately not spoken about a time table. What we've said is this will all be based on conditions. Until the Iraqi government is not on its own two feet, until it is not stable and secure, and as long as the Iraqi governments want coalition forces in their country, we'll remain behind the Iraqi people," he said.

Both Captain Pascual and Captain Clark believed that the Iraqis had the right to a democratically-elected government. And they insisted that the US and coalition forces would do their best to help.

"Iraqis will decide what type of democracy they need in their country. It's not for the US to dictate," said Captain Clark. "But we will assist to ensure that the process takes place as smoothly as possible," he added.

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