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Pace: Suicide Bombs Reflect Terrorists' Desperation

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2006 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called today's escalated violence in Iraq another indication that Dec. 15 elections there were "a major blow to al Qaeda" and a sign of desperation among terrorists hoping to disrupt the Iraq's progress.

Scores of people were reported killed and wounded today in two car bombings in Iraq.

After three successful elections in Iraq during 2005, with increasing voter turnout with each election, terrorists recognize their failure to stop the democratic process from moving forward, Marine Gen. Peter Pace told Pentagon reporters today.

"And I think what you're seeing now is their continuing attempt to disrupt the proper formation of the Iraqi government," he said. "And I'm very confident that they'll fail at this as well.

"So I see the terrorist attacks as acknowledgement on the terrorists' part that this is a center of gravity (in the war on terror) and that they're losing," Pace said.

As Iraq's new government forms and begins serving the people, Iraqi resisters fighting against the government will begin recognizing it as a positive force, the general predicted. "More and more, (they will) lay down their arms and decide to become part of the future of Iraq and not the past," he said.

Foreign fighters, who Pace said he believes make up most of the suicide bombers in Iraq, present a larger challenge, the chairman acknowledged. "They are not Iraqi, and they are there simply to try to subjugate the Iraqi people," he said.

But, as more Iraqis see the benefits their new government offers, the more likely they are to make it difficult for terrorists to operate, Pace said.

"There will be fewer places from which those folks who want to attack will have refuge" and be able to hide and store weapons, he said. "So I do believe that over the course of the coming year that violence will subside."

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Gen. Peter Pace, USMC

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