Not the end of the violence but the beginning of something new – constitutional democracy in the Middle East, is how US President George W Bush described last week’s elections in Iraq.
In an address to the nation from the Oval Office he added: “This vote, 6,000 miles away, in a vital region of the world, means that America has an ally of growing strength in the fight against terror.
“Some look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude that the war is lost and not worth another dime or another day. I don’t believe that. Our military commanders do not believe that. Our troops in the field, who bear the burden and make the sacrifices do not believe that America has lost. And not even the terrorists believe it. We know from their own communications that they feel a tightening noose – and fear the rise of a democratic Iraq.”
It was Bush’s fifth recent speech on Iraq as he struggles with low approval ratings and wide public discontent with the rising US death toll. Some 2,100 troops have died since the invasion in 2003.