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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

American Forces Press Service

U.S. General: Terrorists Afraid of Vote in Iraq

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2005 -- Terrorists use many different weapons and tactics to instill fear among Iraqis, but the one thing they're afraid of is a successful election in Iraq.

"While the terrorists use car bombs, . improvised explosive devices, and other weapons to instill terror, the terrorists are afraid of one thing: and that's a piece of paper called a ballot," Air Force Brig. Gen. Erv Lessel said during an interview today on Fox News Channel.

Lessel, deputy operations director for Multinational Force Iraq, said many people outside of Iraq don't have an accurate picture of the security situation in the country.

"I think that if you look at the whole picture, you'll see that in 14 of the 18 provinces today, it's relatively safe and secure," he said. "What you tend to see is the violence that occurs, those spectacular events caused by the terrorists, the car bombings and the mass casualties."

Lessel also briefly described how Iraqi and multinational forces will work in layers to secure polling places during elections scheduled for Jan. 30. Iraqi police will provide close-in security at polling stations and work to protect "citizens as they come and go from voting," the general said.

Iraqi National Guard and army soldiers will be a second layer of security, while multinational forces will be still farther out acting as a quick reaction force "able to respond if and when needed," he said.


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