Defense Department Report, October 31: Iraq Operational Update


Friday  October 31, 2003

Myers says security problem varies in different regions of Iraq

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers says the Iraq security situation is different in different regions of the country.

Asked, in a series of interviews with regional reporters across the United States October 30, about the incidence of violence in Iraq, General Myers said the security situation varies, with both the northern and southern regions being "relatively stable." The major problem, he said, exists in a small localized area around Baghdad -- and areas north and northwest of the capital -- "where the extremists still get a lot of support," and he said efforts are under way to mitigate it there.

Due to the uneven security situation, Myers said the coalition has been looking at ways to "accelerate getting Iraqis to fulfill some of the security requirements" through police, border guard, site protection, and Civil Defense Corps functions.

"There's a huge effort to encourage Iraqis to come forward" and help thwart former regime loyalists and foreign fighters, the chairman said. In response to several questions, he said there would be no skimping in efforts to train Iraqis for their security roles. "We do intend to accelerate the number of police that are adequately trained," he added.

But there are more "pieces" to success in Iraq than security, according to the chairman. "It's not only security, but it's the governance piece, it's the economic piece, it's the infrastructure piece," he said, "and it's how we communicate to Iraqis and ... to the region and the world.... You just can't focus on one and make that your formula for success."

Myers expressed optimism about succeeding. "What I'm certain of is that from a military standpoint we can provide the kind of environment and set the conditions so that Iraq can prosper as a free and democratic country," he said. "I'm positive about that."


(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:


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