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American Forces Press Service

Gates: Officials Expected Rise in Violence as Security Plan Unfolds

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2007 – Commanders on the ground expected the rise in violence that has accompanied the U.S. troop surge into Baghdad, and the new security plan there will take time to be effective, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.

“I think it's a sad reality, but I think we anticipated that there would be, in some respects, an increase in the violence, and particularly in the belts around Baghdad, as we pushed the bad guys out of some of the neighborhoods where we had not been active in a long time, or the Iraqi security forces for that matter,” Gates said at a news conference following a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Japan’s defense and foreign ministers.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of Multinational Force Iraq, has expected this rise in violence and has said since the beginning of the Baghdad security plan that it will take months, not weeks, to take effect, Gates said. Al Qaeda is coming on strong and using more large car bombs to try to thwart the progress of the Iraqi government and incite sectarian violence, he said.

Addressing the war on terror, Rice said that terrorists will always fight back when they are pursued. The struggle against terrorism will be difficult and long, but the United States and its allies have made real progress on some fronts, she said.

“We'll continue to fight that war,” she said. “We're making considerable progress. But perhaps the most important difference between now and 2001 is that I think we really do have a global and international community that is determined to fight terrorism and extremism, that is determined to share information, share intelligence, work together.”

Rice cited the examples of NATO’s work in Afghanistan, Japan’s contributions to humanitarian projects in Iraq, and the strong international response to terrorism as proof of progress in the war on terror.

“It may take some time to defeat the terrorists, but we are in a much stronger position now because there really is an international coalition that's devoted to that cause,” she said.

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