L. Paul Bremer
Coalition Provisional Authority
40-Day Anniversary of Erbil Bombing
15 March 2004
Forty days ago not far from here terrorists killed scores of people and
injured hundreds more in two separate attacks.
Personally, and on behalf of the Coalition Provisional Authority, the United
States of America I again extend my sympathy to all those wounded here 40 days
ago and to the families of those who were murdered.
Once again, as so often in the past, Kurds were the victim of murderous
violence. In the world’s recent history few, if any, have suffered more than the
But those who struck here aimed do harm well beyond their immediate, physical
victims. In Erbil, in Baghdad and Karbala, and most recently in Madrid, the
murders are intended to send a message through the suffering of the immediate,
physical victims. The terrorists who killed and maimed so many here struck a
grievous blow to your community, robbing you of many fathers, brothers, mothers
and children. They also robbed you of public-spirited citizens who surely would
have emerged as leaders in the new Iraq. But, the terrorists also struck at the
very fabric of what the overwhelming majority of Iraqis are striving to become—
members of a pluralistic democracy based on the concept that there is room for
Part of Iraq’s future of hope is for a country in which Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen,
Assyrians, Christians, Sunnis and Shiites, all the peoples of Iraq, can work
together for their common benefit. It is this vision of harmony, tolerance and
mutual respect that the terrorists targeted on February 1.
Others have suffered since February 1, but Iraq’s march to its future of hope
continues in spite of the suffering the evil-doers impose. The Transitional
Administrative Law, which guarantees the rights of all, including Kurdish
rights, will guide the interim government which takes power on June 30 and
delineate the path to democracy.
The terrorists have imposed suffering in every part of Iraq. The are making the
people of Iraq, all of them, pay a terrible price in blood. But the terrorists
are losing their race against the Iraqi people. They know they are losing that
race. As the letter from the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said, democracy in
Iraq removes the pretext for terrorism.
They are losing because the Iraqi people recognize the terrorists for what they
are—murderers seeking chaos and hatred.
They are losing and they will continue to lose because here in Erbil, as in
Baghdad and Karbala and all the other places the terrorists have struck, the
united people of Iraq will not be defeated.
Mabruk al Iraq al Jadeed.