Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday praised his nation for defending freedom of speech and not yielding to authoritarian forces during the international uproar over the Prophet Muhammad cartoons last year. In his annual's New Year's Day speech, Fogh Rasmussen also said he hoped to start scaling back Denmark's 460 troops in Iraq in 2007. "It made a strong impression on all of us to see the Danish flag being burnt, to see Danish embassies in flames, to hear and see the threats against Denmark and Danes," the prime minister said of the cartoon crisis that erupted nearly a year ago in the Muslim world. "Those were some difficult weeks for Denmark," he said. "But we made it through, not least because we stood together when it mattered."