COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT WITH
L. PAUL BREMER, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY TO IRAQ;
LIEUTENANT GENERAL RICARDO SANCHEZ, COMMANDER,
COALITION GROUND FORCES
RE: TERRORIST ATTACKS IN KARBALA AND BAGHDAD
LOCATION: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
DATE: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3, 2004
MR. BREMER: First, I offer my condolences and those of the Coalition
to the families of the dead, to the wounded and to their families. Indeed,
civilized people the world over join you in outraged grief. Yesterday's
terrorist attacks match any every perpetrated in their pure cynicism, in their
pure evil. Their purpose was clear: incitement of sectarian violence among
In spite of the death toll, in spite of the wounded, as Iraqis from across the
political spectrum have made clear in statements, the effort to provoke
sectarian violence has failed and it will fail. The coalition and the United
States government are committed to helping Iraq win this war against terrorism.
We offer our complete support to the Iraqi people and to their security forces.
It is increasingly apparent that a large part of this terrorism comes from
outside the country. And we are strengthening border protection to counter it.
There are 8,000 border police on duty today and more are on the way. We are
adding hundreds of vehicles and doubling border police staffing in selected
areas. The United States has committed $60 million to support border security.
These are practical measures and they will have an effect.
But I want to take note of the contrast in the events on Monday and Tuesday. The
Monday pre-dawn agreement on the transitional administrative law demonstrated
what can happen when a broad range of Iraqis work and talk and reason together
with the goal of achieving justice, harmony and progress. This is the path to a
democratic Iraq. Tuesday showed us the dark vision of the evildoers. They fight
to ward off harmony and are happy to pave the road to power with the corpses of
their innocent victims. The terrorists are dead set against the vision of a
democratic Iraq, a vision shared by an overwhelming majority of the Iraqi
people. We know from the intercepted letter written by the terrorist Abu Musaab
al-Zarqawi that he wants to provoke sectarian violence for the specific purpose
of thwarting the movement towards democracy. Zarqawi wrote that democracy is
coming to Iraq, and that once Iraq was democratic there would be no further
pretext for attacks. Zarqawi and like-minded terrorists are in a losing race
against time. They will lose because they have not thwarted the desire of the
Iraqi people for democracy. They will lose because they have underestimated the
resilience of the Iraqi people. And they will lose because they have
underestimated the willingness of the coalition to support the Iraqi people.
After the mourning period is over, the transitional administrative law with the
region's broadest guarantees of individual liberties will be signed. On June
30th the coalition will hand over sovereignty to the Iraqi people. Next year
there will be three elections ending in a directly elected sovereign Iraqi
government. The war against terrorism is not over. But I am certain that
democracy and harmony will triumph over the evil-doers.
GEN. SANCHEZ: Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.
Let me also express my condolences and the condolences of the entire coalition
military force to the families of those killed and injured in the barbaric
attacks yesterday in Karbala and here in Baghdad. There is absolutely no
justification for these brutal attacks on innocent civilians who were merely
practicing their faith.
The terrorists will not succeed. With each attack, the resolve of the Iraqi
people and the coalition, it only grows stronger. With each attack, more and
more Iraqis commit themselves to protect their country. Today more than 200,000
Iraqis are serving in the security forces, and that number continues to grow
every day. More than 130,000 coalition troops stand side by side with the Iraqi
security forces in a partnership to provide security for this country.
Make no mistake, we will continue our offensive operations to kill or capture
those responsible for these atrocities. We will work alongside our Iraqi
partners every day until this mission is complete. Together we know that we can
provide the security for a free, democratic and sovereign country. This is our
mission and we will not walk away from it.