Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari says terrorists are striving to eliminate democracy and freedom in his country and the nation's borders must be sealed to prevent insurgents from killing innocent civilians. Mr. al-Jaafari made his remarks during a speech in Washington.
Speaking through a translator, the Iraqi prime minister told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations that while the fight against Saddam Hussein is over, the battle against those who would terrorize his country continues. "Terrorists have the mentality of the caveman. They see any civilized human being as a legitimate target who in their view should be killed. Terrorism strives to eliminate civilization, to eliminate democracy, to eliminate freedom," he said.
Insurgents have killed more than 12-hundred people since the Shi'ite-led government was formed two months ago.
Mr. al-Jaafari says while only a very small number of Iraqis are involved in the insurgency, his new government realizes it must build its security forces and control Iraq's borders to significantly reduce the violence. "Eliminating terrorism involves securing our borders and any weakness in this allows more terrorists to enter the country from our neighbors. Also eliminating terrorism comes from the efficiency and effectiveness of our security forces and also in activating the judiciary so that people see justice is being done and the criminals and the terrorists are being punished," he said.
The new Iraqi prime minister says the U.S.-led multinational force and Iraqi security agencies are getting better intelligence to help fight against the insurgency.
Mr. al-Jaafari says the government has begun the process of drafting a new constitution, and is eager to have the participation of Sunni Muslims.
He says officials are trying hard to meet an August 15th deadline to complete the document. "The ministerial committee will do its best to complete the constitution on time and be a support to the constitutional committee in the assembly. Many of the principles in the constitution will be united and will have much commonality with the constitutions of the world, especially concerning the main principles such as human rights and freedom of speech," he said.
The Iraqi prime minister says he expects Saddam Hussein and other former regime officials will be put on trial within the next few months.