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For Immediate Release
May 3, 2007

Setting the Record Straight: Iraq Is The Central Front Of Al Qaeda's Global Campaign

      Setting the Record Straight

"All Americans are entitled to their own opinions about Iraq, but they are not entitled to their own facts. We all wish al Qaeda were no longer a threat, but the reality is Gen. Petraeus calls them 'probably public enemy number one' in Iraq. It is impossible to completely segregate al Qaeda's attacks in Iraq from sectarian violence because al Qaeda's explicit goal is to create sectarian violence to destabilize the government so they can establish a safe haven within the country. Considering Gen. Petraeus' comments, the National Intelligence Estimate, and news media reports, al Qaeda's role in fomenting violence in Iraq is ignored at our own peril."

– White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, 5/3/07

Some news reports claim President Bush is overemphasizing al Qaeda's role in Iraq violence.

Our Strategy In Iraq Is Aimed At Both Sectarian Violence And Al Qaeda

Some news reports claim the White House has a plan to deemphasize sectarian fighting in Iraq.

  1. President Bush: "The terrorists and extremists and radicals set off a wave of sectarian violence that engulfed that young democracy's capital. It threatened to destabilize the entire country." (President George W. Bush, Remarks To the Associated General Contractors Of America, Washington, DC, 5/3/07)
  2. President Bush: "And their job was to go after the extremists and radicals who were inciting sectarian violence."
  3. President Bush: "And, finally, it's important to measure the level of sectarian violence."
  4. President Bush: "If the objective is to bring security to the capital, one measurement is whether or not sectarian violence is declining."
  5. President Bush: "…[I]n spite of the fact that we haven't fully implemented the plan, the number of sectarian murders in Baghdad has dropped substantially."
  6. President Bush: "Even as the sectarian attacks have declined, the overall level of violence in Baghdad remains high."
  7. President Bush: "[Spectacular attacks] are part of al Qaeda's calculated campaign to reignite sectarian violence in Baghdad, to discourage the Iraqi citizen, and to break support for the war here at home."
  8. President Bush: "Despite [al Qaeda's] tremendous brutality, they failed to provoke the large-scale sectarian reprisals that al Qaeda wants."
  9. President Bush: "And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down."
  10. President Bush: "[Our military commanders] go into a neighborhood in Baghdad that had been ravaged by sectarian violence, they bring order with the Iraqis, they stay in place, they gain the confidence of the people, and there is some reconstruction money to help provide jobs of cleaning up neighborhoods and rebuilding storefronts."

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